What I Learned this Autumn 2020 (AKA pandemic intensity)

Before I get into what I learned this season, I want to acknowledge all that I am learning and reawakening to in light of recent world events. I want to be part of change for the long term right here in Australia, not simply get caught up in a short term flurry of passion. I want to raise my daughter to pursue true equality and reconciliation too. #blacklivesmatter

At the end of each season, I take time to stop and reflect. I want to remember what I learned. This is a regular practice in my life and yet this one is very irregular. Never before has an entire season been dominated by a global pandemic. My reflections are not usually so hard to process and put into words. In light of that, I am giving myself permission for this list to be what it is knowing that the deeper processing is still in progress and is not ready for public words.

Here is what I learned this Autumn:

I’m not the person I want to be yet

Shocking revelation, I know! Big life change and crisis tends to bring out what is already there. I find my avoidance strategies and unhelpful defaults have been amplified. This is not surprising given the stress of the situation. I do give myself grace for it but also recognise that these things are a repeated pattern in my life that will stop me from being the person I want to be and need to be to achieve my goals. I am choosing not to beat myself up over it but simply observe and consider how to make changes.

I am quite ok being at home most of the time

This introvert heart thrived on the slower pace of being home. I didn’t miss many of my usual weekly activities, particularly at first. I did miss some of the rhythms that regular weekly activities bring. I did miss my people. As restrictions have lifted and activities starting to happen again, I am reconsidering what I want to include.

I love having my husband and daughter home more 

The family time was so life-giving. There were, of course, meltdowns and challenges but such sweet moments too. We have definitely grown closer as a family unit. It is healthy for us to have more time apart now that life is stepping towards ‘normal’ but we are working to hold on to some of those moments.

Colour-by-number apps on my tablet are so relaxing (and addicting)

I have colouring books and sticker mosaic books that I enjoy occasionally. The colouring tends to make my shoulder ache quickly (ongoing injury woes) and the sticker books trigger my perfectionism side. My mum introduced me to an app on my tablet. I find myself unwinding almost instantly. It has been so helpful for times I need to recharge. The difficulty is of course the addiction factor. Thankful for digital wellbeing controls with time limits to cut me off!

I enjoy recording video talks

I recorded several videos for MOPS groups to show online, to make announcements and encourage my leaders and to share on social media. I have really enjoyed this. I have known this before but don’t make time for it apart from specific projects usually. Now to figure out how to build this in more without overloading my schedule!

It is hard to psych yourself up for a big change twice

I had handed in my resignation and was mere days away from leaving my job of almost 10 years. With the impact of COVID on my workplace as well as my personal business, I extended my time by a few months. It had taken a tremendous effort to build up the courage to leave the first time. It is feeling even more difficult this second time around. The pull of the comfortable is strong.

“Comfort is like a beautiful prison”

Sarah Jessica Parker

I live in one of the best places on earth

I have never been more grateful to live in Western Australia than during this pandemic. The combination of our leaders’ decision making, resources, isolation from other countries and states and suburb spread carried us through what could have been horrific. Seeing what has happened in other nations has been sobering. This part of the world is incredibly beautiful and has felt as safe as you can feel in these times.

So that is my list of what I learned over Autumn. I would love to hear what you have learned these past few months.

Inspired by Emily P. Freeman’s regular reflection practice. Find other posts linked in hers.

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