My pandemic year, while restrictive in many ways, has been blessed with nesting and productivity: my son, fiance and I moved into a new house together just as the world locked down, we got married and blended our families, and I completed an executive certificate program at Georgetown University. In this crazy year, a few learnings bubble up:
- A micro wedding is less stressful and complex, and just as lovely as a big one. We could only have our kids, one friend, a photographer and our pup at our outdoor June wedding, but we still wore dazzling clothes, I got my hair done (in the garage), and we focused on making our ceremony special. Our wedding was drastically pared down from our original plan and my dream event, but it ended up being very satisfying for both of us. And our Zoomed friends and family (in a reception later, hosted by Julie!) felt included.
- Thank goodness we newlyweds like each other enough to spend most of our waking (and sleeping) hours together! We had no idea when we moved in together last April that we would both be working (and kid-schooling) from home and cloistered for over a year. It could have gone badly but it didn’t! We chose each other well, whew!
- Adversity brings strangers together – virtually. My Georgetown U cohort started with in-person classes and had to switch to all-virtual after the second class. We went through all the stages of grief about this; all the reasons we enrolled in a prestigious in-person program were stripped from us. We muddled through together, and as a result of this shared hardship, we became close and still meet regularly even nine months after the program ended.
- Adolescent boys need structure! While my son has a strong work ethic, over time his study habits got as relaxed as our Zoom attire until all his parents snapped out of our malaise and instituted a new “learning plan.” Thankfully school is back to four days in-person this week!
- I need girlfriend time, and being stuck in our homes sure does help with scheduling that. A few months ago I convened four of my long lost high school friends virtually and we’ve been meeting every two weeks since. If it weren’t for this pandemic, we would never have aligned our calendars for these chats. I go on periodic walks with a couple of girlfriends, including via phone, and this helps keep me connected to female kindreds.
- I like this slower pace of life. I can nap and exercise when I want to, wear casual clothes, eat lunch with my husband every day, read novels, spend zero time in the car, and pet my dog a lot. Sure, I miss socializing more and look forward to more in-person gatherings. But considering lessons #1, 2, 3, and 5, I know that Small, Intimate, and Intentional works quite well for me.
- My passion – leadership coaching – is pandemic-proof. I coach from anywhere on the phone and I love love love this flexibility and ability to support people any time.
It feels hopeful to imagine live concerts soon, seeing my parents, and far-flung adventures. For now, I am grateful for what I have, what we have built, and the love and learning that comes with all of it.