What I Discovered About Myself During the Pandemic

I have been working from home since March 16. As I reflect on the past 100+ days, there are actually a few things silver linings I want to acknowledge.

Nature: As a kid who grew up on a treeless street, I have appreciated nature my whole life. It started with Sunday visits to the New York Botanical Garden with my family as a child. Today I am very clear that daily walks in nature with my college kids, including when the rain is pouring, have been a lifesaver during the quarantine. I am keenly aware of the trees going from bare to buds to blooming, and have noticed exotic birds I had never seen before. I even spotted a beautiful fox on one of our walks. There has been something so grounding about watching seasons unfold as they should while everything else feels out of sync. I will leave this Covid experience knowing that I need to be in nature to replenish and am committed to making sure I not only walk in it frequently, but that I am present to all its magnificence.

Being a Good Wife: I’ve been married for 30 years and my husband and I have shared an office space for 24 of them. He is a real estate finance lawyer and we met just as he started law school. Bob is considered an essential worker by the Department of Finance because he helps people refinance and buy homes, so he has been going to our Manhattan office every work day since mid-March. At first I was very scared. He was usually one of three people in his entire car on Metro North. But instead of projecting my fear onto him, I asked myself how I could best support him. And that’s when I started to pack his lunch and snacks every day, drive him to the train and pick him up after a long day. I also tried very hard to take care of any tasks or errands that would make his life easier because his days were so long and stressful. These might sound like normal “wifely” things to do, but honestly, I had never played this role before! To my amazement, I have actually really enjoyed being there for him and supporting him in any way I can. As I drop him off at 8:12 each morning, I feel like he is a warrior heading into the city with his mask, Lysol, and paperbag lunch so he doesn’t have to leave the office. Because I am not currently commuting and my workload has been less than normal, I have found that I have had extra energy and the capacity to give him more than I had previously. What I have learned during this pandemic is that I really need to make sure my buckets are full by sleeping enough, being in nature and not being overwhelmed by work so that I have more to give from the deepest place in my heart.

Being Creative: Creating things that never existed before is one of my greatest driving forces. Unfortunately, getting things done and taking care of business tasks is very consuming, and being creative requires “extra energy.” These past three months, I have actually felt that I have more creative energy. This has enabled me to develop three additional Well-Being modules, write a new business plan for a Career & Life Advisory for Achievers, and outline the content for 15 podcast episodes. When I get scared about the economy and how our business will be affected, I ask myself, “What can I create that people will need when we come out of this?” There is a lot I don’t have control over right now, but creating things that don’t yet exist and that can help others to achieve their goals is something I do have control over!

Mastering Technology prior to our COVID quarantine, I had never used Zoom. The first weeks were hard, I didn’t know how to schedule a meeting, no less conduct a training over Zoom. My first Zoom training didn’t go smoothly; the background was too dark and blended with my hair and made me look bald. I felt awkward talking into my iPad when my PowerPoint was on the screen and I couldn’t see anyone. Now I can schedule a group training, easily upload my slides, add a virtual background and speak into the camera with ease. I have also found that I can create cover letters for candidates by dictating the content into my iPhone and then editing. My favorite new use of technology has been using Zoom to conduct interviews and prep calls with candidates. I plan on continuing to use Zoom to interview candidates when we return to the office. I miss being in a room with a live audience when training and meeting candidates in person, but I am also grateful for the opportunity these challenging times have given me to master and use new technology.

What have you discovered about yourself over the past months that you are excited to bring into your post-quarantine life?

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