I was thinking recently about some of the positive changes that have occurred in my life since the pandemic began. I don’t mean this in an “everything is all sunshine and rainbows” kind of way – let me explain. It was a Sunday afternoon and we had gone to a local park for a walk and some views of the changing leaves, we stopped for a coffee on the way home and spent more quality time together just the two of us than we have had in quite some time. I remarked to my partner that we should make a point of doing this more often and it got me thinking about the other changes we’ve had to make in the way we do things since the pandemic. And to be honest, it hasn’t all been bad.
I’ve been spending more time outside than I ever have in my life. Gardening has been a delightful new hobby (my social media is so colorful!) and I take long walks with the dogs most days. Because of the need for a pod, I’ve deepened friendships with a few people who I socialize (distantly) with. It has been wonderful to feel like I finally have a core group of friends here in Pittsburgh. I’ve also noticed that we are getting better at entertaining ourselves in more simple ways. We don’t rely on going out to a special dinner to fill our time anymore. We cook. We go to a new park or nature preserve. We take care of something around the house we’ve been avoiding. We schedule puppy play dates. We work on community organizing or service projects. I used to get really frustrated if we didn’t have at least one “outing” over the weekend, but I seem to have accepted that I don’t need to go out or have “plans” to have a nice day or be entertained.
Of course, I recognize the tremendous privilege I have here – and I’m not taking that for granted. The point I’m trying to make is that we often experience tremendous growth and learning through adversity. And when we take time to appreciate and name this growth, we are taking the time to make meaning from the adversity we’ve experienced. Meaning making is one of the ways that we can take suffering and transform it into something that serves us. For this week’s wellness practice, I encourage you to consider what growth, learning, or positive changes have come out of your pandemic time.