4 Lessons I’ve Learned From Quarantined Life

I am kind of over the whole Coronavirus/Quarantine thing. I mean I was never really under it, to be honest- who among us was? But yes, I laughed out loud at the I-can’t-stop-eating-and-touching-my-face memes, I fully embraced waking up sans alarm, working from home in pajamas and I most definitely celebrated NOT having to pack school lunches and act as the freaking carpool queen. For the first few weeks, it wasn’t so bad. I was living my best life and successfully staying in the moment.

Now? Not so much. The jokes are getting stale (sorry, not sorry) and I spend my free time daydreaming about packing the best damn school lunches my kids will ever get. Complete with I love you notes and Starbucks cake pops for dessert. I would give anything to spend my Saturday morning searching for soccer jerseys and fighting with my ex-husband about who is going to take which kid where.

Ahhhh, the good ‘ole days.


Suzanne Hayes

And therein lies the lesson, friends. If nothing else, this upheaval of life as we knew it has offered us so many valuable lessons— lessons that must remain at the forefront of our minds, hearts and souls long after the threat of COVID-19 has vanished; lessons that we must be grateful for, despite our frustration and anxiety. Lessons that have the power to transform our lives if we let them. Here are some of the lessons that are transforming my life in this moment of time:

Worry is a Waste of Time

You want to know what I was worried about 2 months ago? I was worried about how I was going to manage the spring sports schedules of my 3 children. I was angry at my ex-husband for signing the kids up for so many different activities. I lost sleep over it. I fought with him in public. I experienced rage and my blood boiled. I couldn’t let it go. And guess what? It was all a waste of time. Spring is here. No sports. No schedules. No conflicts. I also worried about money and summer childcare and my relationship status and why oh why can’t I just get a job that I really, really love? Today, none of that is relevant. I wasted my precious time worrying when I should have been living life to the fullest.

Worry is always a waste of time, but do not be fooled, you can control your thoughts and steer them away from worry; it requires practice, awareness and patience, but it is worth the effort. When you catch yourself lost in worry or anxiety, try to shift to gratitude. Even in the darkest times there is something to be grateful for, so find it, write it down, and observe how your thoughts and attitude change.

We are Resilient

Seriously, what the hell just happened? Everything, I mean every little thing in life has changed dramatically in a very short time span. I feel as though I am the main character in some Dystopian novel, who never saw this coming. Technically, there was fair warning, but the scope of the reality of this was all too vast to truly comprehend and process. I remember hearing about how we will all settle into a new normal— I just couldn’t accept that idea. Not me, I thought. I will not adopt a new normal. I’m not sure what I thought I was going to do, but the bottom line is that I did adjust. And so did my kids. And everyone else I know. Better than I could have ever imagined, too. We really have settled into a new normal. Do I like it? Hell no. But do I accept it? Yes. We are resilient creatures and damn that is something to celebrate. If we can adjust to this, rest assured anything to come will be a piece of cake! Move to a new house? New job? Unemployed? Heartbreak? We got this. We are built to adapt and adjust and bounce right back and that is what we are doing and it is truly amazing. If we can get through this— and we are—then we are basically unstoppable and wow, isn’t that powerful?

We Take People For Granted

Red hearts with two simple words (thank you) adorn the yards of neighborhoods all across the country. People are going above and beyond to thank first responders for putting themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe. Grocery store workers are being praised and deemed heroes. We have a new appreciation for garbage men and postal workers. It may have taken a pandemic to awaken our appreciation for these folks, but let’s not allow that to slip away as life slowly shifts back to normal. Everyone’s job is essential to someone and we must treat people with kindness and appreciation and recognize that the size of one’s income does not translate to their worth. Not even a little. A nurse, teacher, secretary, personal trainer, the trash man and a lawyer are all equally valuable to the maintenance of life and I think this nationwide time-out has opened our eyes to that. Please don’t forget it. Say thank you, show respect and always be kind— even when this global pandemic passes.

Life is Short

I know, I know, this is so cliché, right? It is. But, God, it is so true. On any given day, at any given moment, your time could be up and chances are when that happens, it will be way too soon for your liking. Life is a gift and it sure is easy to take it for granted, but please don’t. Any day you wake up above ground is a good one- it is a blessing that comes with the responsibility of making it count. Sing loud, dance your butt off and eat the cake. Do whatever it is that makes your soul sing and your mouth smile and own it. Laugh until your stomach hurts and take smart risks that invigorate you from the inside out and do it all simply because you can. Fear not what others think of you. Simply be kind, be you and enjoy the ride. And upon awakening each day, thank god or the universe or your grandmother in heaven for another day alive and well. Then live like you mean it.

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