• Nikki Miller

New Norms

Updated: Feb 26, 2021

2020 has been a year of change - some intentional and self-driven, some imposed and externally driven. In both cases, I notice a myriad of feelings - relief, curiosity, resistance, frustration and surrender. There are the obvious changes - pandemic, distance learning, zoom meetings versus in-person, ordering on-line versus going IN to a store, finding ways to exercise outside or in the home versus a gym and watching our country endure the wrath of a lot of loss. These are all changes that have come about externally forcing some internal reflection, to say the least. These changes have, for me, caused me to pause and ask myself what is MOST important in my life and at what speed do I want to live? As I reflect back to previous years or even the early part of 2020 I now see I was moving at lightening speed (unbeknownst to me) - going from place to place, appointment to appointment, activity to activity - always with an undercurrent of urgency. I didn't realize it at the time but this fast paced lifestyle came / comes with a cost. A big cost.

Last March, when distant learning started for my kids, restaurants closed, all of our therapies went virtual (both my kids are special needs and we had an array of therapies), grocery stores had limited hours and travel was almost non-existent, my nervous system seemed to relax. Who knew? It basically took everything shutting down for me to finally, finally relax. There was NO WHERE I/we had to be. What a relief that I didn't know I craved. It felt like a weight had been lifted from the ever present scheduling chaos that was constant in my brain. There was more open time to move slower with our days and take more time to focus on the things of MOST importance. I felt both scared to let go of the old 'ways' while also feeling more grounded and focused on what was in front of us as a family. We were and are forging a new way with new patterns and a better, more intentional lifestyle.

For me this change has been cathartic and enlightening. Instead of going to the gym, I took up hiking and home yoga (and am in best shape of my life and saving our family almost $400 per month). Instead of play dates (which aren't the easiest to plan when you have 2 special needs kiddos) - we now go on walks and stop by friends houses to talk in their front yards (so much easier and just as fulfilling). It's been a gift to spend more quality time with my husband for our weekly dates - instead of the movies (where we zoned out and barely spoke) we go on a lot more hikes, bike rides and as of lately massages (much more relaxing!). Don't get me wrong, I want the pandemic to end - it's tragic, unpredictable and fierce. However, I think there's really something magical about this slower lifestyle. It feels more grounded, intentional and there's a richness to it that I wasn't experiencing before with all the hurry and commitments.

What will happen as things start to open up there is more choice? Will we all resume to a faster, busier way of life again? I wonder if we as a collective will all fall back into 'old ways' because it's comfortable and so easy to slide back or fall into the herd mentality..? I hope not. For today, I'm proceeding cautiously and paying more attention to my life and how I spend my time - life is short after all, I believe it's time to wake up to how we're spending it and at what pace. Food for thought :)

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