As I played my vision for 2020 from the movie reel of my imagination on New Year’s Eve, I envisioned a heartwarming, inspiring tale as I prepared my body, mind, and spirit to enter a personal new decade of my own. (Hello, #40andfabulous!) Like many of you, I had big plans for myself this year that included personal health and wellness goals, a fun family vacation, the start of a long-overdue adventure in pursuing my education, and really settling into my new role as a stay-at-home wife and stepmom. The storyline was my kind of beautiful. I remember feeling excited as I pasted images representing those desires on my 2020 vision board. January and February had me off to a really strong start…but then? Enter quarantine, stage left.
This surprise, unwritten villain in your personal screenplay has likely foiled all (or at least some) of your plans. It has certainly pressed pause on most of mine! Like all villains, however, quarantine has a purpose that will have to eventually prove valuable to the plot, or it wouldn’t have appeared in the storyline in the first place. No villain, in the history of villains, has ever walked onscreen to foil the heroine’s plans without somehow improving upon her character in the long run.
One of the most brilliant capabilities we possess as human beings is our propensity to assign meaning to things. For me, this dirty scoundrel appearing (uninvited) in the film of my life has served to magnify everything. Sheltering in place during quarantine has simultaneously amplified what was already beautiful in my world and brought into sharp focus what needs the most attention.
This moment in time holds the potential to be one of the most epic plot twists of our lives for the better, if we allow it. The stories we were writing for 2020 (and beyond) aren’t over yet. The heroine in each of our living motion pictures needs to learn the lessons being offered to her so she can return to center stage, stronger and better than ever. (That’s you, by the way. You’re the heroine of your own movie!)
Right now, we have the opportunity to see our families, finances, spirituality, relationships, homes, careers, use of free time, goals, habits and patterns without the blurring effects of the busy filter we’ve become so used to viewing our lives through. The ‘busy’ I speak of is the constant running from here to there, and the over scheduling we used to collectively participate in as a community. So much of our running around is proving to be far less vital than we originally thought.
Long commutes are being reconsidered by companies and employees all over the world as workforces are mobilized to remain at home. The idea that everyone in the family needed to be in eight places at once at any given time has all but dissolved. Filling our calendars with activities that keep us more distracted than present with the things we long to hold as priority is a thing of the past.
Times of big change like this can feel scary. It can be tempting to slip quietly behind the curtain and hide, (or go into autopilot), until it’s all over. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve definitely had my moments of wanting to retreat along the way! I, too, have burst into tears over things that (in hindsight) were smaller than they felt at the time. But as we move ahead into our ‘new normal’, we can consciously make the decision to use quarantine as the catalyst for whatever changes we have discovered to be necessary in our lives.
Whether you are sheltered at home, or are still working out in the world, my hope is that we will all take a moment to reflect deeply on what we have been writing into our lives. We need to find the courage to rewrite what no longer serves our main characters. We can use this universal moment of pause to evaluate each of the categories mentioned above and really consider what we would have remain, and what has to go, as the quarantine lifts.
Likewise, that same clarity has pulled into focus so much of the beauty that surrounds each of us daily! Having this concentrated time with our kids, partners and families (despite its frustrating moments) is hopefully deepening those relationships. The resilience and resourcefulness of our communities has grounded and inspired us. Kind gestures continue to abound between friends, neighbors, and strangers.
As a whole, we seem to be taking better care of ourselves and each other. We are more considerate of others’ feelings and worries. There is a much stronger appreciation for the people, places, and freedoms that we maybe took for granted pre-pandemic. Let’s pause long enough take stock of all these gifts and cherish them. We can vow to hold them more sacred as we move forward.
There have been so many gifts of quarantine, including recognizing what wasn’t serving us before. As the Lone Star State moves toward fully reopening, let’s not allow these gifts to slip from our fingers and disappear with the memory of “that one time when…” We can decide to take control of the only thing we’ve ever had control of in the first place – ourselves. We can take steps every day to make manifest the lives we want to live. It might take time, and it will definitely take effort, but we are all capable of writing a screenplay we love starring in. What will you decide to do with your next scene?