Community//

How the Pandemic Has Begun to Change Our Priorities

The expression, “You’re in a rut,” comes from an early 1800s saying and alludes to literally having a wagon or cart wheel stuck in a groove in the road. The wheel may spin but will not actually move enough for the vehicle to go anywhere. That pretty much sums up how many of us feel […]

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The expression, “You’re in a rut,” comes from an early 1800s saying and alludes to literally having a wagon or cart wheel stuck in a groove in the road. The wheel may spin but will not actually move enough for the vehicle to go anywhere. That pretty much sums up how many of us feel during the year-long pandemic—stuck in a rut with spinning wheels and nowhere to go.

But—sometimes realizing that you’re in a rut may actually be beneficial. It can force you to see what is working and not working in your life and be a catalyst for change.

Recently I wrote an article explaining a decision I made to take the next six months off to reevaluate my personal priorities. The pandemic had forced me to stop and take stock of what I really want in my next chapter of my life. I need to find out what will have the most powerful and positive impact on my life.

I’m not the only person making changes.

A woman I hold dear as a friend and colleague recently resigned her position on a literacy board where we both serve as trustees. She said that she will still support our projects but that time spent at home during the pandemic has made her want to make some changes for her future. She wanted to fulfill a lifelong dream of returning to her love of painting and wanted enough time, as she said, to “Give it my all” without interruption.

I was surprised and sad to see her go but I understood. We are all seeing that life is precious, too precious to not pursue what will bring us personal fulfillment and happiness. Too precious to waste time and energy on what may once have been important to us but has since become less so as time went on.

I find that I too want to use my own time to pursue projects that make me feel as if I have accomplished something new that is of value to me. A podcast, photography, a small online magazine—things I’ve been meaning to do, dreamed of doing ‘someday’.

A friend told me that working from home has made him want to make changes in his life. He doesn’t want the daily grind of taking the 7:30 AM train into the city any more. He is looking into starting a small tech business, a dream he had for when he retired. He wants that dream to come to fruition now.

Be aware that not everyone you know will be thrilled with you making life changes. They may see your new priorities as a threat to your relationship or, worse, they may make fun of your ideas and need to change. Change scares some people and they may not be onboard with your new needs.

We’ve all been in various stages of lockdown for quite some time now and we’ve had time to reevaluate what is important to us. Maybe it’s a major change like relocating to an area where you’ve always dreamed of living ‘someday’ and now feel the need to go ahead and make that ‘someday’ a reality.

Change may make some people you know uncomfortable but positive change is a good thing. Decide on your priorities, set clear and positive goals, and go for it. This is your life and you deserve to live it well.

© 2021 copyright Kristen Houghton all rights reserved

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