A Year Later-What Have We Learned?

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Like everyone else, I’m reflecting on the last year. No one really knew what was going on, except that things were getting worse. We were officially in a pandemic, who would’ve thought that would happen during our lifetimes. At school, we kept wondering what was going to happen. Parents started keeping their kids home, and we prepared for an extended spring break-take home some extra books and a review packet and we’ll see you in April. Of course that never happened.

Meanwhile, I was 33 weeks pregnant. My doctor appointments started happening weekly, and I asked at each visit, “what are the current rules at the hospital?”. My biggest anxiety outside of staying safe was making sure my husband could be with me when I gave birth.

We hunkered down inside. We built a couple Legos, cleaned rooms in our condo, started cooking more often. Waiting to know when this was going to end. We ordered a carseat, stroller, and other baby essentials earlier than expected, afraid stores were going to close and items were going to be out of stock. I carefully went to the grocery store at 6am with the Seniors and people with autoimmune illnesses to reduce the crowds. I virtually taught about 6 weeks before going on Maternity Leave. Leggings and athleisure became my new wardrobe.

There were no visitors after we came home from the hospital. There were lots of FaceTime calls to introduce our daughter to friends and families. There were lots of walks and park parties getting together with family and friends so we could be with others and be outside. Time went on and we kept waiting for an end.

Here we are a year later, still waiting, but there’s hope in sight. I’ve gotten my first vaccine and some of our friends and family are fully vaccinated or in the process. The weather is getting warmer again, so we can start being outside again. There’s hope that more activities and places will open up soon. I did not plan to spend the last month of my pregnancy nor being with a newborn in quarantine, let alone starting to plan a first birthday party.

But not everything has been negative. What started as a virtual game night for something to do with my husband’s college friends turned in to a weekly Zoom get together. I’ve taken a lot more walks with the dogs or stroller to get outside than I may have if we weren’t otherwise stuck inside. While it would be nice to do classes in person, there is definitely a benefit that I can grab my daughter after a nap, sign on to Zoom, and be right on time. Or put her down for a nap and continue my workout or group conversation. Curbside pickup for groceries and dinner has been super convenient so I don’t have to carry the heavy carseat inside.

While Listening to Gretchen Rubin’s latest podcast episode, she brought up the question, “What valuable lessons have we learned from the pandemic?” This is something I’ve been pondering as well as “What do we want to stay?” We’ve made many lifestyle changes to keep us and others safe the past year, but not all have been negative. What have we learned and what positives should stay as we return to another new normal.

Would love to hear your thoughts!

New Year’s Resolutions

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I’ve always felt lucky being Jewish living in the United States because I have two New Years.  At Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, in the fall, I make a few resolutions for things I want to personally focus on for the following year.  It is a great time to reflect on what is going well in my life, what things I want to change, and what things are getting better but I still want to work on.  There is a designated period of 10 days between the High Holidays to repent and reflect, so I can think how the past year went and what changes I want to make for the following year.  I use this time to reflect on who I want to be as a person and how I will feel most proud of myself.

A few months later, I have the chance to reevaluate my resolutions on January 1st, my second New Year.  My goals may not drastically change, but it is a great opportunity to reflect how things are going, what progress I’ve made, and revise or update my goals if necessary.  The ultimate goal is to keep pushing forward as the best me, and my second New Year is a chance to celebrate the progress on my journey.

Every year, I set personal goals related to my health, exercise, and staying in contact with friends.  Throughout this past year, I’ve spent a lot of time internally reflecting on and figuring out who I am and how to be happy.  It has been an incredible journey of self discovery and something I want to continue.  Smile more.  Focus on the present and what I’m doing at that particular moment.  Make my own choices and have “Me” time to do things I enjoy.

One resolution I am making for this coming year is to show more gratitude and appreciation for the things I have.  Every morning, I should wake up and think of something I am looking forward to that day.  In the evening, I should think about one positive thing that happened during the day and five things I am grateful for.  I can be grateful for little things, such as having a supportive family or being able to enjoy fresh air and sunshine.  Recognizing everything I have and focusing on the positives will make me happier in the long run.  I know I will smile more and be someone people enjoy being around.

Now is the time to reflect, celebrate successes, and make new resolutions to be the best You you can be.  Wishing everyone a Sweet and Happy New Year!