Lately, I have been noticing that I am smiling less, hardly laughing and taking everything so seriously. Small things turn into bigger problems in my mind. I find myself impatient and more easily aggravated. My work is approached with a high degree of tension about getting everything done. Can you relate?
My guess is that the seriousness that has taken over has to do with the state of the world and all the problems that come with living through a pandemic. We must take safety precautions and follow guidelines but I am wondering if it must be done with clenched teeth and a furrowed brow? I am thinking maybe not…
When I notice a new thing or behaviour that I am doing, I personally need to take time to reflect. The reflection helps me figure out why I am approaching life this way. Once I figure out why, I can maybe do something differently.
Now that I know I am taking everything to the next level of serious, I thought about whether or not I want to live this way. The answer was a HARD NO. But, I also recognized that it is challenging to find a remedy to this problem during a pandemic. There is not much fun to be had as we have many restrictions. We are not getting the usual variety of activities and according to me, everyone seems to be working extra hard in constantly changing conditions.
When I think about it more deeply and peel away some layers, I make some important connections. I realize that being more serious in life is related to grief. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have lost a lot. My heart goes out to those who have lost family members because it cannot be easy and the circumstances are traumatic. I also feel for health care workers, especially those working on COVID units. They have witnessed a lot this past year and carried an extraordinary burden. For those of us who are not dealing with death, we are experiencing grief in a different way. And grief is what can drive us to feel and act so serious. I know this to be true because I have worked with bereaved families for a long time and they have described this phenomenon. Grief makes everything look dark and serious.
I love writing about coping strategies and life hacks but to be honest, this post is simply about noticing, connecting and giving myself space to grieve. I miss the life we had one year ago. I miss traveling and eating at a restaurant. I miss being carefree. I miss large family gatherings and small dinner parties. I miss knowing things or making plans with more certainty. I miss it all. Do you?