COVID-19, Adaptation and the New Norm

It’s been a whirlwind of events, emotions and just life! 2019 was incredible, magical, unexpected, rewarding. And I planned to continue this trait as the sun began to rise on 2020. Shoring up plans, reading up on policy documents, signing up for events, and ramping up our fundraising efforts. Best laid plans right?

In reflection I have learned so much about how we as humans adapt to the unknown, and I have been able to dig deeper into my life purpose, both personal and professional. I guess I could say the lines blurred a little too much the past year, and I did lose sight of the simple things, got so caught up trying to be the best, and stay ahead that I forgot what truly matters. Love – loving the people that love you, loving yourself, and loving life.

And so in the first few weeks that the pandemic hit the US, I went through a series of emotions. Shock, Confusion, Denial, Fear, Depression and a sense of Loss of Control. When my husband and I realized that we would be dealing with this for a while longer, I knew I had to go through the second phase. Acceptance and Adaptation. The last one really is key to navigating the unknown. Especially if you have spent your whole life living a certain way and then all of a sudden have to change that in a matter of days. But of course I had to accept that our lives, they way we carried out day to day activities, and interacted with others had to change. Being more careful, being polite but still maintaining social distancing, these are all things we had to learn how to do.

Crocus in Spring
Crocus in Spring

I suppose the adaptation was a trial and error. You try different things until you find those that are comfortable for you. One of those was limiting our news intake. For a whole week straight we filled our minds with the horrors of increased cases and deaths in the States. It only fed our anxiety and depression. In hindsight we did not know better. I was deeply concerned about where to go from here. We had a couple of climate related projects that had to be placed on hold and it was eating up at me. So I took a week to try and recover. I took very long walks – twice a day. I also took to trying new recipes in the kitchen and writing. I found that staying active gave me some clarity.  And I realized that the reason I was so anxious was because I was used to living in a fast paced world, and it was like it had just come to a screeching halt but my mind had not registered this and just kept on going.

Fast forward four weeks in, and I can say I have never been more grateful for the things I used to take for granted. A roof over our heads, a family and place to truly call home, basic needs like food, and clean running water. And I realize more how long that list is for me, and how short or even absent that list is for so many out there. I also learned how to make our projects work online, and that it’s OK to go at it at your own pace. In my opinion, mental health and happiness is one thing I would not trade for the rush of the next level up. I have learned a lot about the true meaning of adaptation that I will be taking lessons learned into climate adaptation. And I do credit yoga and meditation for helping me find my zen. I am also thankful for the walks because they have not just helped give me clarity but also keep me fit.

So even though my plans for 2020 have been shifted somewhat, I still look forward to the year being incredible, magical, unexpected and most definitely rewarding!

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