March 2021 marked one year since Minnesota went into lockdown for the COVID-19 virus. One year. One year of quarantining, social distancing, hand sanitizing, and masking. One year of keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe, with sacrifices made along the way across every area of our lives. One year later, and we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel as more of the population is vaccinated. To enter out of this era requires each one of us, and each of our families, to look back and reflect.
What have been the discoveries within ourselves? What have we learned about ourselves, our family, our relationships? What do we want to bring into the post-COVID world? And, what needs to be left behind?
This year has been… a lot, for lack of a better word. There truly isn’t one singular word to describe the impact and experience of this year. COVID forced us into rapid change without any real locus of control; it forced us into a radical acceptance of the present moment, of the things we truly cannot change, and not truly knowing or controlling what comes up next for us. It forced us to lean into the discomfort that change brings, and the ambiguity of the future. This year was a year that we didn’t ask for, that nobody wanted; and yet, we lived it. We did it! (Cue: Cheering Fan Section)
A purposeful pause – I deeply encourage you to take one. Purposefully pause and reflect on what this year has given you. Reflect on what you have learned about yourself, how you have grown, how you have seen your family experience extreme distress and still push through. Take time to sit with yourself and ask these questions; sit with your spouse and with your family to purposefully reflect on these questions. Perhaps, fast forward to the future –
- What is the story you want to tell about how you weathered through this COVID storm?
- How did you see it impact you, your relationships, your work/school?
- How did it help you get clear about who you are?
- What did you accomplish?
- And what was challenging for you?
- What did it strip away that was unnecessary or superfluous?
- What are the ways you shifted your way of life that has been life giving or meaningful?
The way in which we create our narratives of this year shapes how we move forward. If you see yourself going straight to negativity with the answers to these reflections, this may be a sign to have more support in processing your experience and the negative impact this year had for you.
Acceptance of letting go of the past is the art of being a human – the ability to experience, to learn, to understand, to reflect and let go in order to move forward. This is the opportunity, strangely enough, that the COVID era gave us – to see ourselves and our world in a new light.