As the CDC and Emmy Award Andy have released/relaxed COVID restrictions, what have I learned from the past fourteen months?

  • it’s smart to have an extra roll of toilet paper stashed away
  • the way to stop the common cold is to wear a mask
  • television really is a vast wasteland
  • arts and crafts get boring after awhile
  • pink gel pens add oomph to an empty planner
  • it’s ok not to rush

Let’s zero in on my last comment: the need to not rush. If pandemic taught me anything, it’s that life is not a race to sprint from one thing to another. It’s not about filling the hours. It’s not about the destination: it’s about the journey…

When you have no where to go, and no time to be somewhere, you learn to enjoy the walk. You begin to notice things you’ve never noticed before. You learn to pay attention to your surroundings. You learn to employ all your senses when you stand on a street corner, or amble down the block. You become engaged with your surroundings.

Once I let myself, I really began to enjoy the journey…the thought of just being…I was free. Wearing a mask and socially distanced, but free…

This is great.

For me.

For my husband…

not so much…

How do you learn to appreciate the journey when your partner doesn’t feel the same way?

My husband is always more rushed than I am. He is a super jaywalker: he will just decide to cross the street when he feels like it because it might make him get someplace ten seconds sooner. As some of you know, when we went to Zion in Utah, as we started our way down the first trail, my husband looked over his shoulder and said to my daughter and I “COME ON” and I asked him what he was rushing to: were we trying to beat that other family to the entrance?

When we vacation, he wants to be in the car at 6am on the morning of our departure. He doesn’t want to leisurely make our way back: he is entirely focused on the destination. We are supposed to be home on Sunday, so let’s see if we can make it back by 8am….

He’s about the destination. I like being about the journey.

How do you reconcile the two?

What do you do when one person wants to take the short cut, and the other is OK with getting lost for a bit?

Last week we were meeting friends for a movie- about a 40 minute walk from our apartment. I wanted to leave an hour for the walk, because I wanted to enjoy the walk. He didn’t have a problem with the hour timeframe: he just wanted to rush through it….every time I wanted to take a picture or read something he made a face….a face of this wasn’t part of the plan- the plan was to meet D and K at the movies….and that’s all he could think about…

Don’t get me wrong: you know I am a hyper organized planning crazy drill sergeant. I have a list and I’ll check things off…

But is there anything wrong with scheduling a few less things so you can feel the experience more?

Is there anything wrong with slowing down just a little bit?

Is there anything wrong with being lost in your thoughts for just a bit?

How afraid are we to just be?

92 thoughts on “Pandemic Lessons

  1. Haha, excellent, I think we all know people like you and your husband!! 🙂 And I am sure that we all like to think of ourselves as lying comfortably within the middle of those poles 😉 However, I know that some view me differently. Ah, the joys or subjectivity and denial 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I feel as thought I’m guilty of this with my own wife and daughter. 😬

    I cannot speak for your husband and it’s hard to explain why i do the same things, myself now that I am thinking about it. I’ve always been a bit of an anxious person, and would rather be somewhere early than late. But that’s not a really good excuse.

    The next time I feel myself rushing a walk outside I’m going to think of this post and try to relax a little. Thank you.

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  3. My 90yo grandmother at the time was always in a rush to get to the green light. She needed to cross the street immediately. I always wondered, what is the rush to get there? She’s over 90 and literally has ALL DAY… ;P

    I don’t know. I’m not a rusher either. I like to stop and snap photos, make notes, craft things in my head I want to write about later…I’m not all about the destination either (some of the time)…

    But there is such a thing as too much slow time. (UGH)… get me out of this lockdown.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well yes….I couldn’t park myself in the journey either…I’m still a doer who’s on the move more than not….but just a little meander works for me

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My husband is one of those get up first thing in the am on vacation to get on the road either when we depart or on the way home, but when we are visiting some historical site he can wander seemingly without purpose for hours. He has become a little more relaxed during this past year and I wonder if it will fade with time and eventually go back to his original ways.

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  5. There’s a song that goes “I’m in a hurry to get things done. I rush ‘n rush until life’s no fun. All we really gotta do is live and die. But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why…”

    Anyway, this is my husband’s self-proclaimed theme song. He hates it about himself, but doesn’t make an effort to change it. I am in your camp, and it can be frustrating.

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  6. Oh, LA, you are me, and your husband is my husband.
    When you said you were hyper-organized but also love to get lost in the journey? I did not know others existed. You’ve made my day. I think the pandemic helped me immensely with this. I was much more like your husband before 2020 but now, I take the back roads. I walk a different route home. I’m never in a hurry now. I am intentional and mindful. But it’s hard to be married to a person who isn’t always like that. He’s getting a little better.

    I read a story about a woman who was leaving the funeral of her mother and heading to the cemetery. She ended up at a stoplight next to the car carrying her mother’s casket and she realized that would be the last time she’d be on this earth with her mom. She was caught up in emotion, obviously, but the car behind her laid on the horn when the light turned to green. We are all so much in a hurry to get places. Now, I feel like if a light turns green, or I am stuck in traffic, it might mean I’m not meant to get there yet.

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  7. I think in depends a lot on how one measures value (their own n particular). Is it how productive they were? Or how much joy they get from doing nothing ie. Enjoying the journey? It is similar to multi tasking which we know doesn’t really exist, but makes one feel as though they are getting more done. My husband is destination oriented, but slowly he is recognizing the benefits of the journey, but old habits die hard.


  8. My husband is like that, too. One of our favorite weekend getaways is Santa Barbara. He always wants to leave first thing in the morning on Sunday so we can get home… We’d get home to Palm Springs where it was over 100 degrees and sit inside with the air conditioning. I’d wish we’d taken a leisurely walk at the beach before jumping in the car, at least!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. He’s not bad, but he has his limits. At a museum though, we both have about the same bandwidth as to how much info we can digest. We are both good for max three exhibits. We look at stuff differently though. He reads everything. I find a few pieces that I love and might spend five minutes just looking at the piece, not reading about it just absorbing. At the gardens I only bring him quarterly….I could take pictures for hours…I usually go myself

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  9. I also like your bullet list at the beginning. There are lessons to learn in every challenge. One was how to recognize priorities in life. The pandemic didn’t significantly impact us, overall. We got a lot of projects done around the house and it was a good excuse to just learn to enjoy the little things. Entrepreneur is a Type A driven personality and is always thinking of projects to do. He used to be like your hubby…and still is to some extent but getting better because this thing called cancer hit him out of the blue. He has somewhat of a different mindset now about how there’s more to life than rushing through it. Too bad cancer had to be the reason he learned that lesson. 💜

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  10. Yes, yes. Sometimes I feel like I rushed through my kids growing up for no good reason. Why couldn’t I have let them play a little longer or taken a different road or even a walk around the block with them? Now I am like you. What’s the rush?

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  11. Thank you for the post, as usual I would like to say more. When my wife and I walk, and it is nearly daily, I have gotten used to her frequent dalliances as we sashay along. I continue along without her, albeit slower, because I know if I stop then she will take even longer. The old cameras with limited exposures forced us to be pickier! Being present certainly has advantages – two bickering tanagers flew out of a bush, landed ten feet ahead, rolled around and flew back into the bush again when we were walking a few days ago. The male was a wonderful bright yellow with red on his cheeks. The whole episode was 4 seconds but my wife missed it but she did have some fabulous pictures from that walk.

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  12. The comment about the common cold is so true. During the earlier part of this year, my other half – who works in an infant school – remarked that they had the highest attendance EVER. Mainly because the kids were washing their hands regularly, and social distancing in “bubbles”. Nobody caught flu for MONTHS.

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  13. Back a million years ago (when I was a kid), before Internet and 24/7 work, my Dad still was so thoroughly on the work treadmill when we went on our 2-week-only family vacation, that my Mom was after him all the time to relax, stay in bed longer, and enjoy rather than rushing from one thing to the next, all with 3 kids in tow. That’s easier said than done when your routine – and the requirement for success in your job – requires you to be responsive at all times. It would take my Dad about 10 of his 14 annual allotted vacation days to unwind, and then it was time to get back to the routine. It’s not always easy.

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    1. With my husband it’s weird….he has a great work ethic but he’s decent at unplugging. However, his overall mind set is to rush…he lacks patience and is quick to get nuts…that’s what I don’t get…why he’s in a rush

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Lol. Then it’s just part of who he is, just like any friend or acquaintance you might have who is never on time for anything, for no apparent reason and without thinking that it’s rude. Think of it as one of his endearing quirks! 😉

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  14. I could feel my hackles going up as I was reading this post, I too am married to a speed demon (I mean demon in the nicest way of course), someone who pisses other drivers off because he has to Win! We’re not in a race, we’re driving to the lake, no one is going to beat us at our own game? This behavior follows him through life, everything is actually a competition, and quite frankly I don’t have the machismo for that. The strange thing is I thought this “aggressive” behavior would settle down as he aged (I cleverly decided not to age) but it’s the same if not worse? Maybe I should sprinkle some estrogen on his cereal? C

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  15. I finished a book and learned that I have more patience for proofreading. I also learned how to breathe under a mask and slow down a bit. I spect things will soon enough be up to speed everywhere except Canada.

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  16. I’m towards the opposite end of that scale in that I tend to live in the “just be” mind set. I can plan and follow that plan, I just don’t often enjoy it. There are some things that I do need plans for and won’t even consider doing it any other way, but almost all things for me fall into a sit back and enjoy it kind of mindset. I need to have room to move and be flexible. It is way too easy to end up disappointed in life otherwise because plans rarely ever turn out as expected.

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  17. I think that’s a guy thing. I like to take the back roads and look at the different farms and he wants to take the highway because he wants to get there. I go without him if I want slow down or take separate vehicles. He has no rest in his ass. I do. I’ll get there when I get there.

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  18. When I’m ready to go somewhere, I really wish I didn’t have to wait for him. I know the inside of the house all too intimately. But once we’re going, I am not in a big rush. I want to see what there is to see!

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  19. Ah, and, you got to the question, LA. Human beings are very afraid of just being. Partly due to habituated lifestyles and early socialization toward the result, and not the journey, especially in the US. I love that you have found more time to be. Slowing down is necessary and needed, I think, for me, for you, for all of us.

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  20. What a beautiful post. It’s about the destination. You learned to enjoy the journey. You took the pandemic and chose to make it a learning experience. That is what enlightenment is all about. Not everyone can reach that level of understanding and acceptance. It shows character and strength.
    You know people have asked me how I have stayed positive (most of the time… I’m human ) during treatment. The pandemic was a lot like cancer. We couldn’t change what was happening so we learned to adjust. I’ve learned that we can adapt to just about anything if we try. Normalcy changes depending on our circumstances. We either deal with it or we are miserable. You made a choice to make the most of a bad situation. Be proud of yourself! Not everyone was able to accomplish that feat! BTW, I can’t tell you how to get your husband to slow down. Some people aren’t wired that way.

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    1. I was sad and depressed in the early stages. Then I got angry. That went on for a few months. Then I got positive. But I worked through all the grief

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, it was a change for most of us. So your emotions were totally normal and difficult. I had been pretty much in quarantine for several months before it began due to my health issues, so I went through the early grief stages before the country did. Any way you look at it, it was not easy or fun until we adapted and learned to adjust. But the fact that we made it through is a feather in both our caps! Yay! We survived! ❤️

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  21. I have no problem with being present and enjoying the journey. I am not wired to be destination oriented at a fast pace without stopping to smell the roses. I would have a tough time in this movie scenario that you gave a your example. Dare I say I have enjoyed the quiet thoughtfulness that came along with the pandemic? While I missed seeing friends, we adapted to phone calls. But I liked having time to think and to process and to explore without a frenetic pace and feeling as if pressure was urgently biting my heels to get things done.

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  22. 🙂 I agree with all your life lessons, if anything covid has taught me to not to plan too far ahead into the future, several months ago after the relaxing of a third lockdown I advised my mother (told her) to go visit her old schoolfriend in Yorkshire because if she waited who knows we’d probably be locked into a fourth? On the bright side the UK Government through every resource at vaccination and it seems to be paying off…………….buffoon Boris finally got something right! Seize the day?

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