Reclaiming our lives: COVID is a reminder of what really counts
So here I am, excited to have moved into a new home a few weeks ago with my two babies and a full household in tow. Our apartment was ready at long last, and I was all set to lead life in a big condominium. Having just gotten into a great routine with my office, gym, yoga, nursing schedule and the kids’ schooling, as also having successfully set up essentials such as the milkman, newspaper vendor, car washer etc., it felt like my life was finally back on track– and COVID-19 struck like a bolt from the blue!
Obviously, and with good reason, life comes to a screeching halt. Well before PM Modi’s announcements, our extremely vigilant and cautious society stated that we aren’t to step out of our homes – no access to the gym and swimming pool, no trainers, drivers, part-time staff, no play area usage. Overnight, we became prisoners in this gorgeous gated community that we had recently begun to call home, and I became a paranoid wreck.
I had just about reclaimed my life post delivery, and was excited to travel, accomplish a host of things at work, get back into my pre-baby body, and here I am being told that I can’t even venture out of the flat.
My mind went into overdrive – I started making manic lists of everything that we may need for this unforeseen period in our lives and did what any logical person would do – raced out of the house and bought “necessities” such as banana chips and chocolates like my life depended on them!
Jokes aside, I think we all did go to town on our quarantine snacks in the first two weeks due to the uncertainty of it all.
Having crossed the hump of being disgruntled, forlorn and stress eating my way through Week 1, I realised that once the paranoia recedes, and you focus on setting a new routine and adapting to the situation, you find yourself in a calmer space and can flourish again!
Sitting at home with our loved ones, safe, worry-free, fridges stocked, unlimited WiFi, with the toughest decision being what to make for dinner or what to watch on Netflix; we’re blessed.
For me, there have been more positives than negatives, for sure.
- Bonus family time – Uninterrupted and stress free quality hours with my 10-month-old and 4-year-old sons has been blissful!
- Zoom has opened up a whole new world for my sons– they are dabbling in football, music, coding and art. Attending these sessions with them is the best part of my day.
- Having said that, I’m so thankful for Netflix and Amazon Prime. I never thought that’s something that I would say since I am not a TV buff, but now I find myself eager to finish my tasks so that I can catch up on some well-deserved screen time
- My workouts are on point!. Pre-lockdown, I would often either be stuck in traffic or didn’t have someone to watch the kids, and used those as excuses to skip a workout at the end of a long day. However, now, my yoga and personal training happen over Zoom like clockwork.
- I have time for self-care– How reassuring to note that a salon regular like me doesn’t need one constantly anymore – nail painting, voluminous curls, eyebrow grooming, face packs – I’ve mastered them now!
- Peaceful surroundings – It seems as though we are living in a seaside resort with clear skies and the sound of birds chirping, which is a far cry from the noisy and traffic-laden city that Mumbai usually is. We’re soaking up the calmness, and enjoying this break before life goes back to chaos again.
Of course, my planner is off the hook – I had big plans of cleaning every nook and cranny of my home and setting things in order (I mean we’ve just moved in, but there’s always something to clean, right?), but for some reason I can’t get those jobs done.
However, I seem to be focusing more on living in the present – baking for my kids, looking up exciting recipes for the family, finding vendors that deliver fresh produce, connecting and checking up on friends that I had lost touch with, watching sunsets with delight, attending an online wine appreciation course, art and messy play with my kids, and my biggest passion – focusing on CSR projects during my WFH time to assist COVID-19 relief efforts.
I honestly feel that these moments, just being with my husband and children – cut off from the rest of the world has given us so much time to introspect and focus on what’s important. This situation has humbled us and made us realize how insignificant we all really are in the bigger picture. This is something happening globally, and somehow, magically, we are all in it together.
There’s been a dynamic shift in the way we think and behave, and I feel that this rewiring is something that we should be thankful for.
In the words of Albert Einstein, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that’s counted truly counts.”
I am therefore, so thankful for everything, including the lockdown. Grim realities aside and the fact that we’re far away from anyone that’s not immediate family, it’s shown us how to appreciate the more valuable things in life, and has also shown us how much more capable we are as individuals. It has also made us respect our community helpers, medical fraternity, the Bombay Municipal Corporation, the police and closer to home, our staff so much more.
This is the “new normal” and it seems like it’s going to be so for the next few months. While most of us have learnt to adapt to it, here’s hoping that the situation improves soon so that we can take these learnings into the new world and live happier, kinder, and more enriched lives.