COVID-19 and the worldwide quarantines it has created is certainly an unusual time in our lives.
I don’t even know if this is something that I’ll experience again in my lifetime. (Hopefully not).
But as odd as the world has been, and as much as our lives have been turned around lately, if you step back and think about it, we’ve really been blessed with a wonderful gift.
Time is the one thing in life that we can never get more of. You can always make more money, change your health, lose or gain weight, gain more knowledge or experience, etc., but you can never make more time.
Time is one of our most amazing resources, but once it’s gone, it’s gone! Time wasted is never regained. We all have the same 24 hours each day, and even our time on this earth is limited.
And no, quarantine hasn’t given us more than 24 hours to work with, but it’s given us so much of our time back!
- Had a horrible commute? No worries – now we are all working from home.
- Didn’t like your job? Now you may not have to go at all! (Trying to put a positive spin on all the lay-offs…. myself included!).
- Hated running around to 18 million different school or after school activities? Perfect because they are all cancelled!
- Felt like you barely had a chance to see your family with all the things you had to get done each day? Well, now you are gifted with being able to spend every moment together at home for weeks on end.
I’m being somewhat sarcastic above, but in all reality, this time that we’ve been given with our families really is a gift.
After my work lay-off, I struggled with finding my rhythm in all this time at home with family. I felt like I had the opportunity to get so much done (organizing, cleaning, ramping up this blog…), but I discovered that I had no time to myself. Instead I was required to spend ALL my time taking care of my two kids (trust me…my one-year-old and four-year-old are not great at independent play yet!) while my husband retained his job by working from home.
But now that my work lay-off is coming to an end, I’m looking back and realizing that even though I had many times that I was frustrated at my inability to do anything I wanted to with all this extra time, I was really doing each and every day what matters the most – spending all my time being present and making memories with my two young children.
Instead of a hurried and stressed 30 minutes in the morning trying to get the kids up, dressed, eating breakfast and out the door, we got the chance to have a slow breakfast together (with all the coffee and tea I wanted!). Then at the end of the day, instead of a simple 1-2 hours together between dinner and bed after everyone gets home, we have the entire evening together, and even the fun of cooking dinner as a family and teaching Matthew things in the kitchen. With no daily agenda, we can do whatever we feel like and whatever the weather allows for us to do. Somedays end up being more structured than others, and somedays are more stressful than others, but all in all, we are getting lots of time to play, read, learn, and connect with each other.
Matthew and Emma have had a chance to get to know each other better, and to start to play better together as brother and sister. Instead of her being at one daycare with only kids her age, and him being at a different school with only kids his age, they are instead forced to be together – all day, every day – and are learning to rely on each other for company and play, bridging the age gap probably better than I could make them do otherwise.
They are also learning to share – not only sharing me and my attention, but sharing with each other. They are far from perfect on this, but I know all this practice will help!
And I know I will be so thankful for this time with them – not only in the moment and looking back on it now that it’s coming to an end, but also years down the road when we can hopefully continue to reap the benefits of the bonds we’ve created from all this time together.
So how about you? Even if your quarantine life doesn’t quite look like mine with the constant care of two young children by your side all day, how are you spending your extra time?
Were you intentional with it, taking the time to make progress towards a goal or dream you’ve been sitting on? Did you intentionally spend it relaxing and reconnecting with your family? Or have these past months just slipped by? Did you wake up today pretty much in the same place in your life and goals as you were when this all started? Did you just end up going about your “normal” daily routines, letting time pass as it always does?
Now I’m not saying that you always have to be working like crazy with all the spare time that you have, but you should be intentional about how you choose to use it. If your current priority is to reconnect with your family, make sure you do just that, and be fully present and engaged when you are together. Don’t be thinking about other to-dos, multitasking on chores, or mentally thinking about something else. If your current top priority is to get organized and clean out the house, then create a plan to make it happen and be sure to stick to that plan. If your current top priority is to simply relax, then that’s ok as well. Just make sure that it’s a conscious decision you’ve made!
Even during a quarantine, it’s easy to get distracted from what we really want in life and what really matters in the end. But this is a great time to get focused on what your priorities are and then start making something happen. After all, nothing happens until you actually do something!
All the best,
P.S. I really do want to know what you’ve done with your quarantine time! Send me a message and let me know. Did you read 5 books? Start a business? Organize your house? Start a weight loss journey? Figure out how to save more money once you are back to work so you can retire early? Spend more time with your kids and spouse, learning more about each other in the process? Or something else entirely?
P.P.S. If you’ve given some thought on your quarantine time and realized that you’ve wasted it so far, don’t be discouraged. Now that you’ve recognized that you are drifting through life, you can start being intentional with your time today! Create a plan, and work towards a dream you’ve been having. There’s no better time to take charge of your life and change it for the better.