COVID Lessons

Today I had a wake up call. COVID had and is having a devastating impact on our communities and the world. When I’m in a good head space, I always try to find the silver lining. I try to find the why in the thing that was clearly meant to happen. I think we all learned a variety of lessons in 2020. One of the many lessons I learned was to value my energy and be very intentional about how I spend my time.

Pre-COVID I was always doing something. I was driving all over the place and attending everything under the sun. If I wasn’t at work, I was at some meeting. If not there, a rehearsal or audition. Perhaps a film shoot on the weekend. Working my second job. Going to the gym, aerial yoga, or some other activity I picked up that month. I couldn’t sit still. I couldn’t just be - be with myself and be in the moment.

When COVID hit and I abruptly had to change and cancel all my plans, it was truly shocking how much time I spent doing “stuff.” I was driving 200 or more miles on any given day. I was in 3 or 4 states a week even when I lived and worked in only one. I only really spent time with my Gabey before I started my day and when I was winding down my day. I had calendars in multiple places. I had all kinds of alarms set so I wouldn’t forget this or that. There were days I literally forgot to eat or drink water. I was a mess. I thrived on the chaos of my schedule. It made it difficult to sit down and be with myself and face facts. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted or what the hell I was doing. Three cancelled concerts planned a month apart. Theatre events and performances cancelled. Traditions uprooted. Was all of this really important?

COVID made me sit down and reflect. It made me ask myself some tough questions. What was I avoiding? What really matters to me? What do I keep going forward? What do I let go of now? How can I keep this sense of clarity and awareness post-COVID? Early on in the pandemic I said pretty quickly I need to be more intentional about my time and how I spend it. I didn’t need to have a maxed out calendar to be productive or impactful. Sitting with myself and having tough conversations was going to be my reality for a while and I needed to embrace that. I’m realizing that was easy to say and do when I literally didn’t have any alternative. Now things are opening back up and some of our routines can commence. I looked at my calendar today and I’m doing it again. I’m not driving over 200 miles a day, but I am spending so much time in front of a screen doing a myriad of things. I’m working two jobs and often picking up extra shifts at the second job. I’m going back to school. I’m attending board meetings. I’m attending virtual events. I’ve started doing aerial yoga again. I signed up for an 8 week intro to pole dancing class. I’m doing it again.

While I have probably gone overboard with the schedule again, I am noticing some stark differences. I am spending time with myself daily through meditation. I have been regularly practicing now instead of haphazardly sitting down and breathing. I am much more intentional about introspection and have been faithful about therapy. I’m making time with friends a priority in ways I hadn’t before. I’m spending time with Gabe and Cleveland in a more intentional way. My communication with Christopher has shifted during this time. I’m much more consistent about communicating with others than I think I did before. Silver lining, while I’m not slowing down my pace, I am slowing down my brain.

I told my sister today I feel like I’m having an identity crisis. I feel like I’m going through the motions and don’t always know why I’m doing what I do. I need to revisit that commitment to myself. My time and energy are valuable. Once expended, I can’t get them back. I do need to sit down with myself again and really make sure I’m living my life with purpose, with intent. I need to make sure it’s not all just because, rather because it matters to me and future me. Take a breath, Tya.