As I look back on the last 45 days that we have been practicing social distancing by remaining home and only leaving the house for essentials, I can't help but to think how incredibly lucky I have been. I decided to reflect on the last 45 days and really look at the opportunities that have arisen as we have sheltered in place. Now, I realize that some of these things would have happened even if we were living "normally" right now, but many of them would not. And besides, who doesn't love a good list of reasons to be grateful, so, here goes my 45 days, 45 ways.
I planted a garden. Ok, so it's not an actual "garden" per se, but I do have four pots that are currently growing lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, and basil. So, in just eight short weeks, I will be able to make my own salad.
I walked my dogs. Now, I know this doesn't sound like much, but to be honest it's not something I actually made time to do before. We have a large yard that they love to run around and play in, so I never really made it a priority to take them for walks. Now, I look forward to our afternoons out in the neighborhood and they love our new routine.
I cooked dinner. For some of you, this may not be a new thing, but for me....this is huge! I am not as comfortable in the kitchen as I would like to be and always leaned more towards eating out or grabbing something easy. I have discovered that I'm not as bad in the kitchen as I feared and have actually enjoyed my time spent planning and cooking dinners. As long as the boys clean up!
I watched old movies. Disney+ has been awesome for taking me down memory lane. A few of the classics I have introduced my children to are: Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Hook, Willow, and soon my absolute favorite movie of all time (which my kids have already seen multiple times) The Princess Bride will be available as well!
I went on a picnic. We decided to give the kitchen (and myself) a break and ordered take out from a local burger joint, packed up the beach towels and a small cooler of drinks and headed to the park to eat and enjoy being outside. The weather was a little warm, but seeing the boys enjoy playing some volleyball with each other while we just enjoyed each others company made up for the Florida humidity.
I drank tea on my porch. Yep, it's that simple, and I have made it part of my morning routine. While the house is still quiet, I make myself a cup of herbal tea and take my time savoring the tea and my thoughts.
I listened to music, the good stuff. Sometimes it played in the background while we worked, sometimes it was the center of attention. Everything from CCR to Backstreet Boys, from Fleetwood Mac to Adele, from The Beatles to well, The Beatles. We listen to it all.
I read 8 books. Fiction, Non-Fiction, Self-Help and Biographies. Some of which I have been meaning to read for months, all of which were worth the wait.
I took a class called The Science of Well Being at Yale. I kind of like the sounds of that one. To be honest, it's a free course offered through Coursera that I found on Facebook. But, either way, paid or not, I have been loving the learning.
I went on multiple bike rides. My youngest is a runner and way faster than me, so I broke out my old bike, pumped up the tires, and have been enjoying our time spent exercising together, even if I do have trouble keeping up with him even on the bike!
I set up my home office. I have always had a desk, but never really took the time to make it a comfortable work space. I ordered some of the same supplies that I keep at the office (I love me some Ink Joy pens and Post It Notes) and now I love to be in there working.
I worked from home. I am incredibly social and did not think I would ever be ok with working in an environment that did not put be directly in the path of people, but I have been managing it pretty well. Video conferencing helps my need for social interaction for sure.
I watched the news. A lot, at first. I was obsessed with everything that was happening and since things were changing so fast I felt the need to watch as much as possible every day. It made me sad, like really sad, and scared but I couldn't help myself, I had a strong desire to know it all! I have since backed off a little, and now only watch a little in the morning to see what I missed, and it has definitely helped my mental health to not be bombarded with so much uncertainty and fear.
I taught my oldest how to play rummy, and then he proceeded to kick my butt at it. The best part is, he now asks me to play and I am loving the "talk time" we have, I wonder if he knows that was my plan all along??
I did some yard work. Ok, maybe I didn't do the yard work, but the men in my life did, and I helped. We finally created a beautiful space around the gorgeous oak tree in our backyard.
I did yoga. Daily.
I learned how to to a hand stand. Still working on it, but I can kick up to it and balance for about two seconds, progress.
I signed up for (and am almost done with) a 200 hour yoga teacher training. Something that I have been meaning to do for a long time and decided to take the plunge, and I couldn't be happier with that decision.
I binge watched Royal Pains. And as with every show you watch for weeks, I felt like I was Evan and Paige's best friend and now I want to move to the Hampton's. Side note, I discovered that the mansion that they live in on the show is actually a hotel......and I'm totally planning on staying there when we can travel again.
I started a blog. You are reading it. Thank you.
I meditated, daily. I have practiced meditation for a few years now, but have really discovered the benefits it has on my mental well being through all of this. It was kept me grounded, focused, sane and hopeful.
I played basketball. Not well. At all. But when your almost seventeen year old son asks you to play with him, you go, because in one of the eight books that I read I learned that boys don't like to "talk" (ok, I already figured that one out) but they will talk in their own way if you let them and sometimes that means simply spending time shooting hoops.
I learned that video conferencing is not just for work! I love seeing my colleagues virtually but I really love seeing my family and friends virtually, with wine.
I had sex. Duh.
I took a lazy Sunday drive. After being cooped up, it is nice to get out and just drive, especially since gas prices are so low, so we did and it was beautiful. Windows down, driving through neighborhoods. We did get to experience Disney with no traffic, which was definitely eerie for sure.
I learned my almost seventeen year old son can grow a beard. Kind of. He has decided to not shave until school starts again, this should be interesting.
I laid in a hammock. A hammock that has been hanging between our two beautiful palm trees for years, looking picture perfect and never getting used, so I used it.
I contemplated life. The big questions, the small questions and all the in between questions. And I still don't know the answers, and because of yoga and meditation I'm ok with that.
I cleaned out my kids dressers and closets. We gathered four trash bags full of clothes that no longer fit and now we can close the dresser drawers and closet doors again.
I did my own nails. This was not fun! Taking off the gel color is soooo much easier at the salon, but I'm back to natural and I think I may keep it that way. And my toes actually look pretty good for an at home pedicure.
I golfed. Not really, I went to the driving range and hit golf balls, but hey it's a start. Although, I'm not sure if golf is a hobby that I am going to continue, I'm way too competitive and I don't think I have the patience to get good at it.
I helped talk my son through distance learning. I am blessed with two kids who have never really struggled in school, being a school teacher I know how lucky I am for sure. My youngest had a tough time getting used to the platform of online learning and discovered how much he misses his teachers. We talked through him understanding his needs as a learner and how this has helped him to see the value in having his teacher in front of him to ask questions, and students around him to help him talk through his thoughts.
I journaled. This is also something I have done for quite some time, but the content of my journal has definitely changed, lots of living in the moment talk.
I reached out to old friends. Social media keeps us "connected" but true connection exists when you can have a conversation about the good ole days and make plans to get together when all of this is over.
I colored and I painted. My "garden" pots have cute little labels and designs on them and the ink joy pens have been key to doodling.
I laid in bed and cuddled with my thirteen year old. Of course, he was watching a YouTube video with headphones in at the time, but his head was on my shoulder and he asked me to stay with him when I tried to get up and leave. Progress.
I played board games. The classics, like Clue and Life and Scrabble. I know you thought I would say Monopoly but I can't stand that game, too many childhood memories of almost murdering my little brother over Boardwalk.
I discovered I can create my own schedule and stick to it. I still get up every morning at 6:30 and enjoy getting most of my work done in the early hours of the morning when the house is quiet and the sun is just rising.
I watched my oldest help my youngest with his math. Thank goodness I didn't have to do it and it was a joy to witness a rare moment of true brotherhood.
I wore yoga pants 95% of the time. Enough said.
I participated in a virtual book study with my work team. While not the same as being in the same room together, it was still meaningful to be able to read and discuss how we plan to change the educational system for the better.
I started a business. I have been planning and planning and decided it was time to kick off my new venture, so I started this website and this blog and plan to start offering workshops and retreats when things return to "normal."
I laid in the sun. There is something about the sun beating down on you that makes you feel alive and connected to a greater power.
I relaxed. Like, really relaxed.
I realized that life is really all about simple things like love and happiness. Spread love, spread kindness, find happiness, find joy. It really can be that simple.
What are you grateful for? What has this changed for you? How are you spending your quarantine? Reflection is a powerful tool that totally helps change your perspective. In ten years, when someone asks me how I felt during this time, I want to be able to remember the items on this list, and say, "It was life changing."