I was totally reluctant, all I wanted to do that Sunday was to sleep and rest. The energy levels at home were high—I played hard by staying dull and lifeless, came up with reasons for why it was not important. But then, I could not sustain for long, positivity and cheer clearly won! I was pulled out for a long and strenuous hike. My husband and 7-year-old were all set to go hiking while I was worried about the hot sun and the stress I had to bear.
Similarly, after several “Yes” and “No” thoughts, I unwillingly attended an on-campus workshop of a yearlong online course I had pursued in 2019. Finally, I decided to attend. It turned out to be an amazing experience; my classmates flew down from all parts of the country. We got a chance to re-live our college life which would have not been possible otherwise!
These are just two incidents out of many such lasts. They happened a few days before the pandemic came flooding. When I come to think of them, I am grateful for not missing opportunities to join family and friends to create wonderful experiences without any apprehensions. Especially for people living in crowded metropolitan cities, stepping out and meeting friends or even immediate families is a big NO. Not meeting anyone is now a symbol of love and care.
We are getting used to being skeptical all the time. Washing hands even when we haven’t touched anything, washing everything that we buy, a sneeze can skip a heartbeat, eyes dilate on hearing someone cough, there’s a feeling of awkwardness when someone passes by without a face mask—the list goes on! But beyond these doubts and confusion, isn’t it important to learn to stay calm and maintain a positive mindset? For how long can our minds be trapped in a state of duality? As a saying in Bhagavad Gita goes, “The fear of losing makes a clam mind restless”. We surely do not wish to deal with a restless mind.
More than 6 months of staying at home, I have learned to let go of certain things and stay put when it’s about certain others. I’m sharing a few of my experiences and learnings.
Staying connected is more important than ever before: Here, I don’t mean connected to technology but through technology. Being able to check-in on near and dear ones—parents, extended families, friends, and colleagues is very important. Listening to their concerns, struggles, balancing acts, etc. will either inspire us or we might inspire them through our stories. Holding on to these genuine strings in our lives can take us a long way in this journey. The power of inspiration is within everyone around us including ourselves.
Pivoting to achieve the unthinkable – Quoting another saying from the Gita, “The beauty of life is in the struggles it throws”. Now that the whole world is in this together, our endurance has gotten much stronger. The pandemic is throwing challenges while people are relentlessly creating unique opportunities for themselves. The real beauty is when people make good of a bad time and talk about their accomplishments with pride. Things that they dreamt about for a long time—something as simple as getting enough sleep and exercise to starting a business of his/her own have now been achievable. Learning new skills, being able to spend time with family, catching up on long lost hobbies have helped everyone look at life with open-mindedness and get a much broader perspective of what’s important, and what can be written off.
The wishing well is right within us: Never have I seen people pray so diligently for the world to heal and to provide strength for the families of the deceased. Never seen so many highs and lows constantly flooding in our own circle. Each person, atheist or believer, knowingly or unknowingly, has been wishing and praying for the pandemic to end and get back to the usual way of living. Our wishes, prayers, and positive thoughts matter the most and will give us the strength to be prepared for what the future has in store. Let’s keep dropping coins of good wishes in our own wishing wells.
Don’t mess with children: A child’s mind wanders everywhere, it’s inquisitive, no matter what. They are going through tough times too—missing friends, playing outdoors, going to school, going on holidays, and more. They are meant to live a carefree and uninterrupted life. We, as adults, are consumed by responsibilities that children have no idea about. Tweaking our schedules to spend a little time during the day with kids is essential. If not, many unanswered questions and concerns will be bygone and forgotten. Maintaining a journal of questions whenever a child has one, helps. A short break to answer those questions refreshes the mind of the parent. Perhaps it is a well-utilized break, and also helps the parent and the child learn new things together. Being prepared to tackle their restlessness needs patience and a lot of guts. Yes, you heard it right. They are little monsters who constantly crave our love and attention. Parents have to wear multiple hats of friends, foes, parents, and teachers without making them feel less important.
A strong determination to stay healthy – Put a break on web series unless you don’t have to incur an opportunity cost. Watching a movie, or reading a few pages from a book has been an effective mantra. Addictive web-series can take a toll on our sleeping habits. I especially could relate to the book “Thrive” as my sleeping habits were chaotic. Being conscious and setting a clear sleep schedule has helped me start fresh in the mornings and focus better. As much as sleep is important, the body demands some form of physical exercise. It provides subtle cues in different forms that we need to pay attention to and take action. Twenty minutes or half an hour of exercise, meditation, a stroll, or whatever suits us should be practiced without excuses. Trust me, the returns are in terms of good vibes only!
So there’s no harm in taking a few steps back to reflect, understand our roots, be thankful, learn, adapt, and progress. We are accustomed to changes from times immemorial. These changes slowly become a routine and sometimes turn into monotony. Routines and monotony don’t spare the sun, moon, water, or even the entire universe. The way we live our life through our thoughts and deeds, inspiring, and making a difference for people around us during this short routine is what it’s all about.
The graceful and brave walk through the pandemic, the lessons learned, the way we adapted is something that will be remembered for a long time to come.