So here we are…day 60 something of being at home, practicing social distancing, baking all of the bread and drinking a lot more wine than usual. By now you have probably come to develop some sort of a daily routine, or at least are trying to become more accustomed to what a ‘day in the life of quarantine’ now looks like for you. My days look a bit different throughout the week, but I am trying to set myself some small goals to feel like I have a few things to accomplish during the day. I have a few dance classes to teach, I practice guitar, try to read a chapter of my book, get some yoga or a workout in. Some days these things happen, other days they don’t.
I’m trying not to be hard on myself when things don’t go to plan. Let’s face it…none of this was part of the plan. I’m trying to remind myself that we are still in the middle of a pandemic, regardless of things starting to feel like they may be easing up. That’s a hard thing to accept. This whole situation is hard to accept, especially as we are now coming into the third month of not being able to go to work, see our friends and family, attend events, or travel. Even more so with the spring weather finally starting to appear, it feels even harder to accept that we may not be able to enjoy crowded patios, parks, outdoor concerts…the CNE!
What are some things you have been challenged to try and accept during the pandemic? I know there have been some major pills to swallow – getting laid off work, closing of businesses and sadly, the loss of loved ones. My heart breaks knowing there are people suffering the loss of a family member and cannot be with them during their last breaths, or mourn them at a funeral. I have a few students graduating this year that don’t know yet if they will be able to attend their prom or celebrate with their friends that they have grown up with. One of my best friends has had to postpone her wedding – twice!
At the beginning of March, my mom travelled to Switzerland where my sister lives. My sister was pregnant and my mom wanted to be there for the birth of her first grandchild and to support my sister through the first few months of motherhood. My dad was going to follow a week later and they were due to stay for about 10 weeks. A few days after my mom arrived, my sister gave birth to my beautiful niece. During the days my sister was in the hospital, the situation with the virus was starting to get bad. Travel was starting to be banned, borders were shutting down, so naturally we were concerned about my mom being abroad. There were no visitors allowed at the hospital, and when my sister brought my niece home, the midwives advised that social distancing protocols be in place – so my mom was not allowed to hold her. Imagine that. A first time grandmother, not able to hold her granddaughter for the first time or hug her own daughter after she gave birth.
To add another big pill to swallow, I had to convince my mom to get on a flight to come back home to Toronto since we had no idea what the travel restrictions were going to be, what her insurance was going to cover, and whether she would even be able to get on a plane. Needless to say, she was not happy. She was devastated, heartbroken and angry. Did she like the situation she was in? No. But she knew she had to look at the big picture, accept it for what it was and that she had no control over it.
Now, 2 months later, we as a family are still having to practice the acceptance of this situation. We are getting to know our newest family member virtually, communicating with her everyday over video chat, watching her go through milestones from miles away. I was looking forward to meeting her in August, as we had a family trip planned to Europe. I am coming to accept now that there is a chance that won’t happen, and I don’t know when I will actually get to meet my niece for the first time. It’s tough. It sucks. It makes me sad. But working towards acceptance in hard times like this is important. Getting through these challenges and learning to accept them is part of being human, and contributes to our personal growth, well-being and emotional capacity.
Practicing acceptance does not mean getting over a situation without acknowledging the emotions or grieving what we cannot have. Feel all of the feels and notice what comes up for you in these times. It does not mean we should just sit back in a crappy situation and believe that this is what we deserve. You do not have to accept being taken advantage of, or being made to feel like you are not good enough or weak. If there are people in your life that are constantly making you feel inadequate, you have the power to walk away or let them go. Acceptance is recognizing that there are things and situations that are beyond our control. It is connecting to reality and being humbled by the fact that life is much bigger than us and we cannot always be in charge.
Acceptance helps us get in touch with our emotions and challenges us to face them, acknowledge them, bringing us closer to ourselves and in turn, to others. Acceptance contributes to our inner peace, and allows us to fully embrace all aspects of situations and people, without judgement. Acceptance is a form of gratitude and can challenge us to be thankful for every situation – how it can teach us and how we can grow from it.
The reality is this is a process. Working towards acceptance of any given situation is a lifelong practice. The more we experience, the more challenges we face, the more we learn that we have to step back, pause, look at the big picture and decide to either accept it, walk away, change, or stay miserable.
We will all work through this time differently and have our own individual challenges to face. Acknowledge this and know that everyone will deal with things in their own way. You may not agree with how others choose to deal with this particular situation. How you choose to react and behave is the only thing within your power – choose wisely. Be kind to yourself. Be kind to others. Move through your days without judgement, and let go of the things you cannot control. Trust that there will be more things to look forward to accepting into our lives in the future (although they might look and feel a bit different than usual)…getting together on a crowded patio, graduating, packing a suitcase and travelling abroad, walking down the aisle, or finally getting to hold your granddaughter for the very first time.