"The bad news is time flies. The good news is you`re the pilot." - Michael Altshuler
I have been spending lockdown in Germany with my family, as I realized after one month in isolation in London, it had a tremendous effect on my wellbeing. I had enjoyed the time in London, I was all by myself (my roommate decided to stay at her boyfriend`s), reading new books (e.g. Persepolis (about Iranian culture and upbringing), Milk & Honey (poetry about womanhood)), while lying all over the couch, cooking new vegan recipes with Deliciously Ella, or establishing my fitness routine with a full body workout (Pamela Reif) and yoga (with Adriene). It wasn`t until Christmas, when I returned home to Germany that I realized how nourishing it was to be physically surrounded by people, who also love you.
Now, I know that currently many people and lots of my friends still have to isolate by themselves and/or still cannot see their families for almost more than a year, esp. in London. where many expats and foreigners live. I understand, also for my own parents, how complicated it could be to plan a trip to e.g. Vietnam, which requires every traveler to first isolate for two weeks in a separate compound (could be an expensive hotel), before they could visit their families. I also know of European friends, who planned to visit their parents and grand-parents for Christmas, but then Germany and France closed their borders on short notice in response to a new mutation found in the UK. I also know of our our family`s friends who are on furlough or have existential fears, because they are afraid they cannot pay their mortgage or find a job. In whatever situation we are in, Corona has changed our lifestyle for all of us.
Another lifestyle for some of my friends and me include staying at home with our family, parents, or partners. One friend is already looking for a new place to stay by herself, feeling a bit restrained by her family`s surrounding, and I also had phases, being highly sensitive as I am, when my parents` and my values and generational understandings clashed. I then had to retrieve in my room, feeling misunderstood and lonely. Often when we are with our families, we also feel obliged to support our families and feel bad if we also take time to just chill, esp. if the working generation of our parents don`t really understand what "self-care" means. Another friend was complaining that she and her boyfriend felt bored and didn`t know what to do. All of our experiences are diverse, valid, part of life. It then dawned on me that we can always choose a new perspective and exit our "Saboteur" mind.
It was this last weekend, when I was working on my business, while I also made the intention to spend more time with my family. Part of my morning routine is journaling with gratitude and intention. So I wrote down, 'Thank you for the time I have with my family'. After the past emotional clashes, I just had the realization and insight that it was a true gift to be with someone that matters to you (and vice versa). Even if there might be hick-ups, misunderstandings, or conflicts - as this is natural for human relationships, to also grow together - we can also take the observer perspective and see our current situation from a bird`s eye view.
My bird`s eye view revealed that it was a unique opportunity to spend this much time with my parents, who grow older with each day, and with my little brother, who grows taller with each day. When I shared with my friend, who felt restrained by living with her family, she also had an epiphany shouting 'Oh my god, Linh! You are so right, I can be so grateful for the time I have now with my family! When will I ever have time to spend it with those who raised me up?!' Our lifestyle post-Corona may not be as active and busy as before, if some of us will adjust our lifestyles learning from lockdown that we can also live in a more minimalistic way, but it will likely be more active than now, given that the economy wants and needs to recover again, people will want to make good for the lost year, and our past habits of living may not be that easy to replace.
I also know of one good friend, who was put on furlough and also didn`t know how her work future would look like. I remember that our friends` reactions were immediately 'Oh, I am so sorry to hear, how are you? Is there anything we can do for you?' But instead of reacting impulsively, potentially being influenced by society`s judgments, we could have just asked how she was doing. Because she was indeed doing great! For her, it was one of the best times she had had, giving her the free time to do whatever she wants and loves to do, and spending time with her family longer than her usual vacation days would allow.
Another friend, who is a mother of a young boy, complained before Corona that she missed spending time with her little son. It was difficult for her to juggle job, parenting, partnership, and, if possible, self-care. Then Corona came, and she and her partner had to naturally align their own schedules with jointly parenting their son. After working out their new lifestyle with time, my friend blossomed as she now could honour one of her values, that is, spending more time with her family. Honouring her values naturally helps her showing up more fulfilled at work and in her private life.
I know these can be called 'shiny' examples, while you may be struggling. Don`t get me wrong, I struggle, too. Following Buddhist principles, I actually believe that suffering is part of life, the other side of the coin. (Life exists in polarity, so always between two extremes, like yin and yang.) And I try as much as possible to not be in my bubble and see other life perspectives, too. For example, I am subscribed to the UN Women's Newsletter educating me on women who, esp. in crises and pandemics, suffer even more from domestic abuse or loss of their manual work. The philosophy of "Life is Here" is also to invite multiple perspectives, experiences, and stories. We often think that life as we understand is, is how life is, but often it is just a glimpse of life, so let´s open our eyes to see more of what life has to offer.
How do you make sure that you see more possible perspectives than your own? Let me know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org – I would very look forward to hearing from you! :) PS: Subscribe to my Newsletter to stay in touch for upcoming posts and news :)
This week`s ...
Reflection: How can I see my current situation from my bird`s eye view?
Intention: I will open up for more perspectives on life, by listening to other people`s stories, reading or watching documentaries, or subscribe to newsletters on expert areas.