One of my favourite writers is a lady called Alexandra Franzen. In an recent email she included some writing prompts, one being ‘My biggest lesson from 2020 so far’. It got me thinking. What would I say has been my biggest lesson so far? In a crazy year where we’ve all learned a lot about ourselves, my most important lesson is probably remembering just how important love and connection to my family and friends is. It’s certainly what keeps me going every day.
But there’s another thing that came to mind, and perhaps what I need to remind myself of the most. Something to help me in these post-lockdown limbo times.
And it’s this: The world keeps turning. Things change, and we move on.
The last time I was in the UK, it was in February for a wedding and a friend’s birthday. The night before I left to return to Spain, it was cold, dark wintry.
When lockdown started in March we had rainy, cold spring days, I remember being confined in my flat wearing jumpers and slippers.
Then suddenly it was summer, and I no longer needed a jumper or extra layer. As we were quarantined for so long here in Spain, we didn’t have the usual exposure to the changing seasons. I have no views of trees out of my windows, only other buildings, right up close. So there was nothing to use as a gauge. Only the way the light fell, the feeling in the air, the intensity of the sun. Just as we were emerging from our flats for the first time, we were into the start of summer. And there was the sudden realisation that so much time had passed.
Right now most of us are feeling stuck, in limbo. Post-lockdown we’ve been going about our daily lives, but with this constant feeling that things aren’t right, we’re waiting for something to happen, something to change. As I write this now, I’m trying to take on a feeling of acceptance, although it’s hard. Acceptance that things are probably going to stay like this for quite a while, this limbo time.
And life goes on. We have new routines. My weekly quiz with my parents has become a regular fixture in our lives. If I can’t visit them every couple of months, as I used to, then at least we can ‘spend time together’, in a different way.
Sporadic calls with my young nieces have taken on a new significance. They are literally growing before my very eyes. Wobbly teeth, new glasses, a haircut. Stretching out, centimetre by centimetre. When I see them on the screen – my desire to hug another human has never been stronger.
I’m sending more cards, being apart from friends is making me feel more nostalgic. I’ve rediscovered the joy of creating a birthday card using old photos, from uni days, school days, holidays, time spent together.
My birthday, which I’ve just had, felt particularly special this year. I felt so loved. Each text message, video call, card or present sent in the post felt meaningful. The idea that someone had gone to the effort of selecting something for me, buying it, wrapping it. Posting things. It reminded me that these people care for me, they want the best for me, they are thinking of me, they want to bring me a little joy. There is so much kindness. Even though we can’t be together, we are connected in a special way.
I have a feeling the winter months are going to be particularly hard. Darker, rainier, colder days don’t always inspire much joy and lightness. Feelings of gloominess and isolation may well increase. Even so – all I ever really want to do in these months is light some candles and hibernate and read. There’s never been a more fitting time to do just that. I’m trying to tell myself that it’ll be ok.
I guess the seasons are a way of reminding us that life is changing and moving forwards, even if we feel stuck and that our lives are on standby. Maybe it feels like things we wanted to do are just impossible right now, like change career, meet a new partner, move house, travel – it all feels incredibly risky or unlikely right now. The economy is not great. Meeting new people, let alone getting close to them feels quite unrealistic. We’re either not allowed to travel or we know that if we do we could go into lockdown or get ill or whatever.
But, time is moving on, and we can create change in our own lives, even if we’re still mainly within the same four walls we have been since March. We can move with the seasons, adapting our cooking, changing our wardrobes, changing our routines, lighting candles, reading more.
We can still take things step-by-step, exploring career change by reading, listening and talking; online dating; searching for a new home; dreaming of travel. Everything at a slower pace. Knowing that one day we will be out of limbo.
Career change can still happen during this uncertainty! If you’d like to start on your career change journey, step-by-step, rather than wait until things are ‘normal’ again (so when will that be?) book in for some coaching sessions with me. Find me here on LinkedIn , or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.