Happy New Year (Happy New You)! It is not only a distant memory but sometime in March, all our plans dissolved into COVID-19. Did you get the opportunity to become the new person you were planning on from your New Year’s resolutions? Read daily, do the Daily Devotionals, the Daily Office, eat healthily, exercise God’s temple? I’m sure a lot of us did what we planned for a bit, but we soon lost steam.
However, don’t worry, because this year we have all got a 2nd New Year — New You! Enter COVID-19, health concerns, the need to quarantine (even for those of us who love staying home this is different), economic changes, time issues — more to do, or less to do, or sometimes both. Social unrest and only God knows what else is to come. There is no way that anyone is coming out of 2020 without some changes. In the US it’s been a long four months and we are counting – ample time for some things to have already shifted for you. Have you noticed what has changed?
I wanted to be sure I got that 2nd chance at a New Me, so I did a little play-by-play recap to get me started thinking:
Anatomy of a Quarantined Me
- Week 1 – Denial, anger over the loss of singing and retreat events, work conferences, retirement dollars and anger over what I perceived to be just wimpy Americans again (“Come on guys, just wash your hands and don’t cough on people!”)
- Week 2 – Went to my first Zoom church service and cried through most of it. I was surprised but then realized, ah I know what this is – I was in the Change Cycle stage of Loss (or the Anger stage of Kuebler Ross stages of grief). I know how to move through these stages so I started working on that – time for blog posts and other work projects, personal reading, encouraging others – this was the impetus to change to things I’ve been saying I want to do for years.
- Week 3 – Fun kayaking, better self-care, took a course on sports nutrition, held a massive number of conversations (work and personal Zoom with colleagues, potential clients, neighbors, family, friends), participated in virtual training sessions, got into virtual workgroups to help with people new to remote work and those having difficulty dealing with all the changes.
- Week 4 – An energizing repeat of week 3 but also starting to implement a few ideas and the feeling that everyone was going to church (I have Liked so many churches on Facebook that I get constant notifications, especially on Sunday morning, of services starting).
- Week 5 – Energizing, repeat of weeks 3 and 4 plus the feeling that I was resurrected (never felt that any other Triduum to Easter Day!)
- Week 6 – Energizing, repeat of weeks 3, 4, and 5 but starting to recognize my exhaustion as an Introvert from all the conversations.
- Week 7 – Look at my calendar! Trying to pull back from so many conversations to do some implementing during the day and some personal reflection in the evening.
- Week 8 – Some success at reducing the number of conversations, training sessions, etc…
- Weeks 9, 10, 11, 12 – During the day I implemented ideas, had a more reasonable number of video conversations, and no more training sessions. Evenings I swam and gardened.
- Week 13 – Everything changed! I thought I was doing well after I got past week 1 (Change Cycle™- Loss and Doubt), but after a couple of months of being super energized about all the changes (all that energy allowing me to cover up my feelings about the negative global health and economic issues), I found myself with serious neck pain and a numb arm which began to have visible muscle atrophy (diagnosed as a pinched cervical nerve). It had all built upon me when I wasn’t looking.
- Weeks 14 onward – Working physically and mentally to alleviate the pinched nerve, and having an increased number of conversations with God to help me through the pain. This time period allowed for some realizations about what all the things that have happened in these quarantined weeks mean for who I am.
What I learned about myself and who I want to be
- Follow a format to move forward – when something major happens I need to follow a set format to move from upset to happiness (good thing I know a lot of formats, now I just need to apply them to myself instead of just helping others with them).
- I love change – yes, me, the one everyone would have said, “she hates change!” I am energized by change as long as I work at moving from Loss, Doubt and Discomfort to Discovery, Understanding and Integration.
- My journey to different faiths is over – the first month of Sundays I was so excited about being able to go to churches from around the world that I chose beloved Episcopal churches – my childhood church, my college church, Trinity Wall Street to show support for how serious the situation was in NYC at the time, my last Chicago church, my Aunt’s church, etc. This then turned into months of Episcopal churches, and most weeks my last Chicago church. Why is this something I learned about myself? For an answer, see my previous articles. I could have chosen any faith tradition I wanted these past Sundays, and each and every one turned out to be an Episcopal church. I have obviously done the work God sent me off to do – and I’m so excited for what comes next!
Here’s what a few others have found out about themselves
I have learned to embrace complications, grieve that we can’t operate like we did in the past, be strong and courageous and move forward”.
I am not as in control as I thought I was”.
I have learned to adapt to change and create a new rhythm for living. This new rhythm will allow time to focus on the beauty of creation and enjoy life more fully”.
Quarantine forced me to have margin in my schedule. Through margin, I was reminded of the satisfaction of preparing healthy meals for my family, the enjoyment of spending uninterrupted time with my husband and kids, and the peace of unscheduled quiet time with the Lord”.
And, what have you learned about yourself?
It’s worth it to put some thought into what you learned about yourself during this time, and who you want to be — your New You Resolution. Try writing your own Anatomy of a Quarantined Me. It was very helpful to me in seeing what has happened to me over the past few months.
Then do some praying – ask God what He wants you to see from all that’s happened to you recently. Look at this time for progression — write down what you saw. Look at each week for things you didn’t like about yourself/things you did/things that surprised you about yourself — write them down. What patterns do you see? — write them down. What should you pray more about? Do it.
So – what did you learn about yourself and who do you want to become through all this?
I’d love to hear – share it in the Comments below!
And finally … Happy new you!