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Learning from this difficult time — A Note from Jane

At the beginning of the pandemic in March, it was clear what we needed to do: to slow the spread of coronavirus and keep our community’s only hospital from becoming overwhelmed, we needed to minimize contact with those outside our immediate family. For some, this meant working at home, replacing in-person contact with clients and colleagues with Zoom, trading in-person shopping for grocery and merchandise deliveries, and turning to creative online shows and virtual events for entertainment.

For me, this also meant not seeing my daughter, Emma and my grandchildren, Moira and Liam, for more than three months. Living in close proximity to them over the years has leant itself to spontaneous get-togethers, so I have missed this physical closeness…a lot!  And while we are by no means out of the woods with regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, now that Governor Hogan and County Executive Jan Gardner have begun to relax restrictions on small group gatherings, like many of you, I’ve been able to see my family again in a sensible way that takes into account our risk factors and health concerns.

During this time of imposed isolation, one of the messages that surfaced frequently was to “find the gift” in this unusual time. When would we ever have this much time again to reflect on our values, figure out what’s really important to us, and start to plan for the future we wanted for ourselves?

Still, having so many parts of our daily lives upended while dealing with separation from our families and friends was a challenge. The “not knowing” got really old, didn’t it? I got tired of hearing words like “pivot,” “unprecedented”,  “uncharted waters”, and “new normal”.  I just wanted my “old normal” back!

As I found myself craving normalcy, one question kept coming to mind: were there any areas of my “old normal” that I didn’t want to return to when the time came? Having extended time to review my life through the filter of my values was very illuminating. I always knew how valuable my relationships with family and friends were but I have now re-examined my life to ensure that I am making them my op priority. Just like I advise my clients, I re-did my Personal Saving and Spending Plan to evaluate the best use of the extra funds I hadn’t been spending since March on gas and dining out. And I found things in my life that were receiving more of my resources than necessary—and now have the clarity to refocus on what is truly important to me.

I am interested to hear about what clarity you found during the last few months. Have you re-aligned any of your priorities?

Please continue to stay well!