Along with the excitement of the semester wrapping up, has been the oh so frustrating disappointment of our society moving back into lockdown. Classes cancelled, celebrations delayed, friends already missed. I am hearing time and time again from clients and loved ones just how tired they are and how hopeless they are beginning to feel… I mean, will this madness ever end!?
I thought I would go ahead and be vulnerable and share how I often deal with daunting times…. I have a big birthday coming up, yes, a BIG one. For most of my adult life, I have struggled with birthdays. I always get bummed out, don’t want to commit to any plans and pretty much berate myself the entire day that I have not accomplished enough or been significant enough. I always had multiple big dreams, but procrastinated continually about which dreams to try and achieve. Fear ran my life, and as my husband often says, “never lost game from the bench”.
I am not sure exactly where I got the idea, but at some point I began breaking my dreams down into smaller chucks and then making goals to accomplish those chunks before my next birthday. It has truly worked wonders for me, blessed my life with so many amazing experiences as well as reignited my zest and excitement for growing another year younger : ) This year it was finishing my first year of nursing school. Check! And voila, the big 40 next month feels far less daunting.
When I set this birthday goal, I only had nursing school on my mind. Of course the over-achiever in me didn’t just want to finish but wanted to graduate with honours as well. I had no idea that Covid would sweep the globe and that it would literally transform the way we go about life and flip the amount of time we typically have with our loved ones upside down. I can totally admit, that at first I was completely annoyed. I mean don’t get me wrong, I love my husband and my kids, but a home business and full time school with no quiet or privacy… this must be some cruel joke. I was stressed, overwhelmed and did not have my best foot forward for quite sometime. But then I realized that I was in dire need of getting my priorities straight. Who was I serving here, myself or my family? Sure, I partly wanted to become a nurse to be able to do more for my family, but did the Dean’s list standing I had my heart set on seriously mean more to me than the amazing family I had been entrusted to love and care for??? As much as I hated handing over that accolade, it was an obvious “Hell No!”
It took some tweaking, it took some laying it down at the feet of the big man upstairs, but I was able to add some new goals to my list: Reconnect with my husband and learn how to use my big girl words and tell him what I need and how he can help, look at my kids everyday and find more ways to laugh and appreciate this season with them, take a break when I need one – absolutely guilt free! Trust me there have been days I have been tempted to go back into my trance of studying. But overall my new seemingly smaller goals have come to mean more to me than my big goal ever could. Shockingly, as I loosened the reins, my stress and tension surrounding school melted away, and the happy moments spent talking with my kids or sharing a quiet glass of wine with my husband, renewed my energy and spark for life. To be honest, the word “lockdown’ doesn’t ruffle my feathers at all anymore. Its just another opportunity to be with my family, free of distractions. And with God’s grace, I made the Dean’s list anyways : ) But had a whole lot more fun in the process.
Long story short, if this global pandemic has you beat, I encourage you to sit down and set some goals. Big ones, small ones, whatever truly speaks to you. If you are not even sure where to start, make a list of who you want to serve in your life: family, neighbours, co-workers, God, and don’t be ashamed to give a little just for you either. Once you know who your heart is set on, you can then easily set goals to share your love, talents and ambitions. The sky is the limit and you will be surprised how one small act can lead to another. Before you know it, you will have made big waves, change and impact on the ones who matter most to you.
Try to view “lockdown” in a new light. It doesn’t have to be a word that takes your power away, but can be one that inspires you to sit down and get your priorities straight, so that your true power can be revealed. No matter how separated we might be, we still have the ability to brighten someones day, intentionally enjoy the people in our bubble or achieve progress in our growth, health, work and intimate lives. The days of constant busy will inevitably return, enjoy these simpler moments, choose to make the best of them.
“Anyone can be great because anyone can serve. You don’t need a college degree, you don’t have to know the theory of relativity or thermodynamics to serve… You just need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love. “
Martin Luther King Jr