In this new day of stay-at-home, stay distant and stay healthy/safe, so much of the news seems to be gloomy — more cases, more shortages, more sadly deaths and serious illness with possible long-term effects. In my stay-at-home days I have been reading lots of books — I always read lots of books, but I think I am at a new record as of today. One of the books I read — an appropriately feel-good, not great literature but good novel — there was this idea about coming up with five great things when you feel anxious or depressed. I thought about this and I came up with five great things about my life today that might not have been there a few weeks ago. Then I asked some of my family members and friends to do the same thing to see what they came up with. Response was overwhelming and insightful. I thought I would share some thoughts.
- Me: (1) Cleanest (most sanitized) kitchen ever (something I will need to work to maintain), (2) Reaching out to friends and family members by phone and Skype (no more text), (3) Spring is coming and my garden is ready, (4) Met some neighbors I didn’t know before (from an appropriately social distance), and (5) Hearing that my ever-changing garden and outdoor art makes people smile.
- My friend and hairdresser (whose business is at a complete standstill): (1) Easy access to everything and everyone I need/want, (2) Having time to play with difficult recipes (that I otherwise would never try), (3) Easier to get ready in the morning/do things that are important.
- My BFF (who lives in downtown Seattle in a high-rise): She had a hard time stopping with five so here goes. (1) No excuses to put things off I hate doing, (2) Exercising regularly (no putting it off), (3) Getting organized and finish going “paperless,” (4) Time to try cooking new dishes (good time to try something different and fun), (5) Calling friends and family from my hometown that I usually email, (6) Writing (I mean handwritten) letters, (7) Doing something for someone else every day (doesn’t cost a dime).
- My kids staying/working at home with their kids (5 under 5): (1) Accelerated potty training for the twins (2 years old), (2) Getting creative with things to do with the kids (has made me really appreciate teachers), (3) Being resourceful with ingredients/things on hand instead of just buying new things, (4) Getting outside and using walks/the garden/anything as a learning experience, (5) Finishing to-do tasks.
- My husband (who is having an especially frustrating time due to some minor surgery so not generally not feeling great and would have been stuck at home anyway): (1) Lost 20 lbs. because had to reduce food intake and eliminate pastries and alcohol from diet (2) Able to go through file folders and shred unneeded documents with brand new Amazon shredder (3) Avoiding strenuous exercise and yard work (4) Saving by not eating out although try to do some takeout to help local restaurants (5) In progress, getting workroom organized.
- My sister: (1) Redoing gardening section, lesson reinforced to have prepped garden areas better in the first place to avoid “do overs,” (2) Planning menus carefully—immediate purpose to cut down on as many shopping excursions as possible but hopefully more thoughtful nutrition choices and driving less, (3) Reaching out via phone to talk to friends versus the lack of warmth and real contract that can result from just emails, (4) “Role reversal” with my children — I’m grounded and they check on me pretty continuously, and (5) Actively reflecting on good things in your life and trying to build on those.
I thought I would share these thoughts and ask others to join the conversation and name your Five Great Things that are new today and are at least in part a result of the stay-at-home experience.
— By Rebecca Elmore-Yalch