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  • pam dennis

august 6, 2020 - lessons learned

Whether it is a social gathering, a work thing, or a discussion with your partner, do you evaluate the success or failure of a situation? After it is all over and the dust settles, leaving you with your most inner thoughts and time to reflect. How did things go? What went well? What could I have done differently? How will I improve for the next time faced with a similar situation?

Do you do this? This is something I have been doing my entire adult life. I am not exactly sure how or when it started, but I am a planner, a rule follower, and I like to take notes. In my former life as a corporate event planner, the success of an event was never an option; it was crucial. I do not like messing up, so I try not to make the same mistake twice. Now I see my oldest child adopting this same principle as he navigates through a job that is challenging his natural reflexes. And, I am applauding his approach to his personal growth from the sidelines!

The truth of the matter is mistakes will happen. This is a given. The real growth lies in how we handle ourselves in the aftermath of the screw up.

My feeling is these mistakes represent other, less discussed growth opportunities. And I find that most people do not have this virtue - the owning. If you have done something wrong, then own it and move forward to fix it and do better next time.

It seems that I have been taking more time to reflect lately. Maybe it is my age? Or the loss of family last year that at times leaves me feeling hollow. Or perhaps the pandemic has given us all time to stop and reflect on what matters most. We have had to adjust to how we shop for groceries, go to school, visit with friends, and celebrate milestone moments. We have realized how the little things we take for granted every day are the things we cherish most and crave into our regular existence. The pandemic has also given us an incredibly special gift; we begin to understand what has become our insignificant earthly habits and which ones are invaluable. Family, time with loved ones, health, kindness to others, walks in nature, and a hug are precious and need to be treasured and held onto tightly.

Eventually, this crisis, like all those before it, will too pass. And once this horrific virus is gone, we may quickly slip back to familiar habits and behave as self-serving as ever. Or perhaps, we will be forever changed for the better.

If we can take away anything from this time in history, we need to hold on tightly to the good that has come from an awful situation. And it is an awful situation; this horrific virus has left a wake of devastation in every corner of our world. Unthinkable loss and stories left untold.

What have we learned from it all?

I understand there are different perspectives to consider, of course, one being a global political account recorded in the history books. How did things go? What went well? What to do differently? What improvements are necessary for the next time our planet is in a similar situation? What the history books write, only time will tell.

And there will be personal perspectives that will impact how we individually move forward. My usual personality trait is to go within, avoid connection, to coil. But what has emerged from this moment is that remarkable things are possible if I unfurl and let in opportunities.

What is most meaningful in my life is time. Time to spend with loved ones. Time to accomplish dreams. Time to connect and listen to someone's story. Time to see my kids happy. Time to be still. Time to appreciate all I have.

Time is precious, and connections are invaluable.

The lack of social interactions can negatively affect our mental well-being. Humans naturally need to engage with one another, and this is especially vital for our children. Seeing my kids crushed by the reality of not being able to connect with their friends during the lock-down phases of the pandemic was not easy. Our social engagements have been altered and limited. Due to this virus' contagious nature, the simplest acts of social engagement could have catastrophic repercussions to us personally and our loved ones. Now when engaging with others socially, we must proceed with caution, which goes against our human inclinations. Continue to connect with family and friends creatively until we get to the other side of this global crisis. Offer them a shoulder to lean on, or maybe ask for one yourself.

What lessons can I take from the pandemic, and where do I go from here? I suppose it is simple, be open to the notion of connection and when I am all out of time, will I feel fulfilled?

How will you reflect on this moment in time? What lessons will you take away from the pandemic? I have attached a printable 'Journal Page', an opportunity for you to document this moment in our history. It will be a fun thing to look back on someday when we are years beyond this crisis and be able to connect to what you were thinking. And to see how we have evolved as a human race.

Make every moment count. Keep well.


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