Looking back at the past 8 months, what have you learned? Thinking about this question, it is a question that crosses many paths. It brings in lessons at home, at work and in social circles. Last year at this time I was working in an office and commuting to work and I was also doing business travel, helping coach a new team in Agile Scrum. This year I am remote 100% and I have a new set of teams I am coaching.
What are the things I took for granted that I would love to have now? Being an extrovert, of course going to the office and interacting in person was an event I truly enjoyed. Of course that included getting dressed in my outfit of choice and putting on my favorite shoes and heading to corporate America. What I've learned from this experience is that anything can change your situation and you need to be ready to adapt. Working remote is a benefit that many people have tried to convince employers to be more flexible on, well be careful what you wish for -- it has now become a new way of working for many organizations.
Who would ever imagine that universities all over the world would close because of a pandemic? My youngest daughter is a Junior at Miami Oxford in Ohio. I remember getting the call that school was shifting to remote and the students needed to be out within a day. What college student who has been living on campus wants to pack up and move back to Mom's? For my daughter, it was an adjustment moving off campus to our condo and to the online learning method. It took at least a month for her to learn her routine and adapt to virtual learning, but she got her system down. Today students from all over the globe start back to school, some virtual, some in person and some hybrid, masks included for all in person.
Before COVID-19 I wasn't really a Netflix user. It would come on when my daughters used it, but I hadn't really embraced it. Let's say after being on lockdown in March and April, I quickly became a fan. For me the awesome part about being able to enjoy Netflix is family bonding time. We could all sit around the family room, enjoying snacks and entertainment. We watched more Netflix in 2 months than I have in the past 5 years.
Who remembers going on vacation and planning your favorite trips of the year? This has been a favorite hobby that I enjoy with my family and friends, but since COVID-19, it has been put on hold. I've learned to enjoy my current surroundings and find joy in the simple joys of life. Someday the travel ban will ease up, but until then I need to be close to family and friends.
Above all things, I think this pandemic has taught us patience. Everything has changed, the world we knew before is now full of lots of rules and precautions. It takes longer to do everything. If you see extra Clorox wipes in the store, buy them and keep them in reserve for a rainy day. If you see supplies like paper towels and toilet paper, stock up, you never know when there will be a shortage of these items. You may want to trade in that favorite lipstick for a new mask -- not me, I will wear the clear shield so I can keep my lipstick fresh, a critical skill my mother taught me.
I asked a few people what has been their biggest learnings during the pandemic and here are the top 10 responses I got:
We resurrected the family dinner and learned new recipes
We made tik toks and had so much fun
I saved a ton of money on gas and not commuting
I ate too much and am now on a diet trying to lose my COVID weight
I lost my job and had to learn to adapt to a lower income lifestyle
My life has been turned upside down, having to be dormant in an assisted living facility with no family to see or touch
I sold my house and it was quite a miracle given it was in the middle of the pandemic
I am raising an infant in the pandemic and keep him inside mostly which has its own challenges, the only fun we have is going swimming or going for walks
We had to reschedule our wedding
We lost a family member and could not be with them when they passed
In closing, I ask you to take a look at what you've learned from the pandemic. Focus on the positive and look at what may change and what you have the power to change. Life as we know it is a whole new world, let's embrace it and help others as we continue our journey to our happy place. Please share your comments on what you've learned and how you are maneuvering through the pandemic.