Serendipity | Life Lessons Learned



Boredom is not something that usually affects me. Some people have even commented I’m easily entertained. I take that as a compliment regardless of how it’s intended. When my three children were growing up and would complain about “nothing to do,” I was baffled by such comments. They had each other to play with; collectively there were lots of toys and books available to them; and neighbor kids their age lived close by or down the street. I would offer suggestions although I was rarely sympathetic. Even after they left home and their Dad and I were “on our own” we both could find plenty to do and enjoy entertainment among family and friends. There were movies, eating out, traveling, visiting, even the old-fashioned idea of going for a ride in the car. Then in 2020, years after we had adjusted to being empty nesters, COVID struck and our lives changed forever.

Even then we did well for a considerable time. We watched two granddaughters graduate from grade school as we sat in comfortable chairs seeing it all on a large television screen. We made it through an exceedingly quiet but pleasant Thanksgiving and Christmas believing next year would be different. We welcomed the New Year enthusiastically, eager to begin a new start on the calendar and in our lives, confident change would be coming soon. Favorite pastimes lost some appeal as we realized how much we missed interacting with others. On days when the weather was decent for January and February, we walked outside or at the Mall before stores opened. But some days truly felt like time stood still. We set our clocks ahead to enjoy that long anticipated extra sunlight and waited for Spring. Mother Nature rather hastily changed direction from snow to rain, but there were still beautiful bright days thrown in the middle.

The once cute saying about April showers bring May flowers lost some of its appeal as we remained hopeful that continual rain didn’t drown out the possibility of beautiful blossoms. We watched news broadcasts wanting words of encouragement, progress and the hoped for possibility that masks, quarantining, and vaccines were effective. As the weather grew warmer, we anxiously awaited being together safely with others and enjoying conversation and refreshments.

Recently a magazine designed for those 50 and older posed the question, “What do you miss most during COVID isolation?” One person responded, “Visiting with friends for coffee or lunch.” Another wrote, “Myself. With so many adjustments, I’m withdrawn and constantly on guard. Not the person I was.”

We don’t exactly think about needing to “heal” from isolation or reconditioning ourselves for other behaviors. Initially we were interested in returning to “how things used to be” and then we realized that really couldn’t and perhaps shouldn’t happen. Nor would we want it to because for many of us this past year has been a time to grow, change some of our perspectives, become more appreciative, help others, and learn not to take even the smallest convenience for granted. We also know better how to improvise, enjoy our own company and utilize an inner strength we hadn’t discovered previously. It will be wonderful to rediscover new freedoms, but may we never ignore the wisdom we’ve acquired.

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