A few months ago, the word pandemic was a term recognized by many as either from an 8th grade history lesson or a futuristic sci fi book or movie. Yet here we are, stuck at home, learning more than we ever thought possible about viruses, cytokine storms, hydroxychloroquine, and how to make a face mask with a t-shirt and vacuum filter. The rest of us are perhaps sitting around waiting for something (heck, anything!) to give us a sense of normalcy. Admittedly, I waffle between both camps depending upon my mood of the day, hour, or minute.
Those with jobs still intact are adjusting to varied work hours, shared or limited space for a home office and navigating virtual meetings. Family, pets and tense news updates can be persistent distractions.
Those furloughed are navigating the unknown with additional stress and anxiety, wondering when (or if!) they’ll have jobs to come back to. Days are now spent applying for unemployment or deferring mortgages, auto and student loan payments.
Now that the shock of social distancing and isolation has settled in, I find myself contemplating “what’s next”. And yes, for most of us thankfully, there’ll be a “what’s next”. But, with the added uncertainty, what does “what’s next” look like? Particularly in relation to our careers and our work? Only time will tell, but perhaps hitting the “universal pause” button is a chance for us to think about how we really want to continue to spend our time, energy, money, skills and talent.
Maybe it’s time to consider going back to school? With online academics, it’s possible to get that degree you’ve talked about for ages. If not a full degree, maybe a certification or targeted course to expand your skill set and open up new “post pandemic” opportunities. How about beginning to write that novel, paint that picture or start that blog/vlog? Perhaps you’ve been inspired to take action and volunteer for a worthy cause. Or…maybe all this has you thinking that retirement is something that just simply can’t wait any longer.
Whatever it is, let’s take this time – and all the lemons that life has recently given us – to do something extraordinary. Let’s make lemonade. But why settle for making ordinary lemonade when there’s finally time to try out a whole new recipe, something brave and bold? Let’s give ourselves permission to dream, plan and create. To set a new course of action or continue with new direction.
My grandmother (gone, but not forgotten) used to say, “Life is what you make of it”. The same grandmother who survived the 1918 Pandemic as a young 18-year-old woman, so perhaps she had a little experience and wisdom that’s also relevant today. Me? I’m following her advice (and my own) and taking the time to dream, plan, and create. I’m finally taking that course I’ve been meaning to start ages ago. I’m writing again. For myself. Something I put on the back burner for far too long.
See…I have these lemons and making plain old, regular lemonade just isn’t going to cut it for me anymore. So, I’ve decided to make Sweet Lavender Basil Lemonade. Because why not? And because I want my “what’s next” to be extraordinary.