It was March 4, 2020, when my almost empty flight from Copenhagen, Denmark landed in Budapest, Hungary. The pandemic already had been around us, and already had impacted my travel plans for the rest of March and April — but I had no idea the magnitude of its impact on our lives in the following months.
I think, nobody had.
March 4, 2020 was 300 days ago.
Before that, I had had a life with frequent travel opportunities: mostly for work, but also to relax.
In 2019, I traveled for 115 days.
Was it a lot? — Yes, definitely.
Did I like it? — Oh yes, I loved it a lot!
Did I have plans for 2020? — For sure!
300 days ago, I did not know that that almost empty flight was my last one for a long while.
300 days ago, I did not know that the world would spin around and turn upside down. For everyone.
300 days ago, I did not know that all of my three children would be home for most of the year.
300 days ago, I did not know that my husband would work from home for most of the year.
Yes, our world turned upside down.
All of our plans became unnecessary. Sometimes, even planning for the next day feels worthless.
Nobody can see what the next year, or even week or day would be.
We have to do this day by day.
Wake up in the morning.
Take the youngest one to kindergarten (if and when the kindergarten is open… They were closed for three months in spring, and they’re closed again for a 2-week winter break again).
Homeschool our daughter.
Prepare / warm up lunch.
Clean up the kitchen.
Do the laundry.
Clean the house.
Do grocery shopping — online.
Pay the bills — online.
Order food for the next days — online.
Does anyone in the family need any new clothes (PJs or t-shirts or yoga pants — we don’t really wear anything else anymore) — order online.
Does anyone in the family need any new tools or gadgets for work-from-home or school-from-home — order online.
Talk to friends and colleagues— online.
Do some work again — of course, online.
Everything is online, even family members who don’t live with us.
The rule of “minimize screen time” has almost eliminated. Even the school, friends, judo and dance for my kids — everything is online. “No screen time” would mean “no social life” for them. That’s what connects them to their “normal” life — whatever “normal” means.
My husband occupied the home office, so my desk is in the living room now.
First, I did not like it at all.
I am an introvert, I need personal space.
I don’t simply want it — I need it, really.
My desk is in the living room — practically this means, in the middle of our family life. Anyone does anything in the house — it happens in the living room.
I can see and be part of anything and everything happening in our home.
Having uninterrupted me-time sounds (almost) as surreal as taking a flight these days.
Personal space is out of question, with all the five of us being home all day, every day. While the kids have their own rooms where they can close the doors — there is no door on our living room.
Yes, I do have noise cancelling headphones. Yes, I use them. Still, it’s not the same as a physical door.
Still, with new rules, I a kind of like it now.
With some consciousness, I can have me-time every day. Usually it’s after bed time, but also, many days the kids let me spend some time with myself after lunch, too.
Of course, we also spend a lot of time together. With consciousness, this can be quality time, too. We walk and hike a lot. Sometimes, when I run, my son follows me on his bike. Do it mindfully, and these will be the best memories of these days, ever.
Do I have bad days? — Hell, yes! I do!
But I know we’re lucky. We’re healthy, we have a nice and cozy place to live, we have work, too.
And also, the last 300 days have taught me a lot:
- Accept it. Accept that you cannot control everything you want to. Accept that the world has changed. Accept that you have to change, too.
- Resilience is more important than ever. If there’re new conditions, if there’s a new world — apply the rules. Or make new rules.
- Embrace the “here and now”. Life is short — and 2020 has shown this to everyone. Health is more important than ever. If you’re alive, healthy, and can spend time with your beloved ones — do it. Now!
- Have a daily routine. This gives a frame to your day, and also helps to go on auto-pilot when you need it the most (eg. every day).
- Probably there are a lot of things you miss. I miss too many friends, places, smells, things to do, etc. I miss them a LOT! And while sometimes it feels good to think about them, and even cry — I try to focus on the “here and now”, again. Let yourself miss these people and things, but don’t let them to define your days.
- Of course, technology can help a lot. Ping your friend. Make a call with someone you cannot see these days. Schedule regular calls with the ones who are important to you. — I know, making a Zoom call is not the same but recognize: it’s better than nothing!
Imagine if this pandemic would have happened 20 years ago. Internet was rare those days and very expensive. Mobile phones? — they were rare, too. What did you do those days? How would a pandemic have impacted your life back then? What would you do (and be) today then?
- Last but not least: Exercise. Meditate. Take care of yourself — your body as well as your mind and soul. You need it. The world needs the best version of you.
Here to a better and easier 2021.
I truly hope, 300 days from now, I can travel again, visit my clients around the world, see new places, eat good food, …