by Dianna Flett

I’ve discovered a lot of things about myself during this period of quarantine. Some are good; some are not. But I’m surprised at my age that there is still so much to discover. Here’s what I learned:

I’m not a very self-motivated person. I try to stay busy and have worked to clean out cabinets and drawers, closets and unused rooms, but if I didn’t clean those things out it wouldn’t make much of a difference. I need to feel stress to be at my best and refolding sheets so they look neater in the hallway closet just doesn’t do it for me.

I miss college and professional sports. The non-quarantined me would never have said I miss sports. I don’t miss them because I enjoy them. I miss them because my husband and my sons enjoy them. They brought connection and reasons to communicate to the men in my life. They brought a common point of knowledge and cajoling to the family, and they brought laughter and emotion. I’m sure when televised sports are back in full force, I’ll get frustrated with how much we watch them. For now, I’ll pause and remember the excitement that three pointers and loaded bases brought to our household. I hope they start back as soon as it is safe.

I’m a good cook, but I don’t like to do it every day. I realize whether I put down pasta with butter or a perfectly made croque monsieur, my family will still be full when they’re finished eating. Chances are they won’t rant over one any more than the other. I’ve learned to just go with the pasta more frequently and not feel guilty. It’s a lot easier.

My dogs are great company. I have two boxers that are thrilled we are home so much. They have more opportunities to go out in the yard, go for walks, and play. I think they’ll miss those times when we get back to our normal routines. I wonder if they think we’re great company, too. I hope so.

I miss visiting my friends, but I also miss knowing they are safe and comfortable. I’ve talked more to them via FaceTime and Google Hangouts than I usually talked to them face to face, but I miss knowing if I want to see them I can. I’ve discovered I underestimated the value of my sense of freedom, security, and well-being. Those things are important to me.

This whole thing is having a weird impact on people. When I head to the grocery store on my rare trips out, I try to make eye contact with folks and smile. They don’t seem to like that. I’m not sure if they feel like I can contaminate them with a smile, but now more than ever we need to smile at one another. We need to share a moment of grace, even if it is from six or ten feet away. A smile will hurt no one, but maybe a smile can be contagious. Wouldn’t that be nice?

There are worse things than this virus. Allowing it to eat away at us even if we don’t get sick has huge implications for our future selves, and our families. We can grow stronger if we look at the lessons this situation is presenting us. We can learn more about ourselves and our families and grow into a better version of who we are together. Spending all this time and not learning something new would be a wasted opportunity.

And as the great Andy Rooney used to say:

“I hate it when that happens.”

Be safe.