The Pandemic and Life Edits

The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed me to do some life edits.  I’m thinking deeply about my life as a 75-year-old woman and what changes to make as I learn to live with restrictions

Just as I edit clothes as the seasons change, doing a life edit as seasons of life change is appropriate. Some experts recommend a life-edit every 6 to 8 months — or when feeling overwhelmed. And, there is no question that the uncertainty of this pandemic has frequently left me with feelings of being overwhelmed.

Facing various limitations since the beginning of the pandemic has left me experiencing a range of emotions. My routines have changed as has some of my thinking.  Some days it takes all my energy to hold things together and not succumb to the stress of the effects of the pandemic in my life.

It’s clear that most of us will continue to face restrictions as the pandemic continues its ruthless second wave of infections. Living through this time has created a sustained level of stress and fear.  Coupled with a constant stream of bad news about the number of positive tests, the strain on hospitals, and the number of deaths, it’s clear that life edits are needed to get through the next few months.

What is a life edit?

A life edit is a means of taking stock of your life. How am I changing? What matters now? What can be eliminated? Where am I headed?

Sometimes life editing is equated with simplifying. Or, it may be equated with self-improvement. Perhaps it’s about finding contentment with what you have — knowing what is important with no further searching for an elusive ideal.

As I think about what’s next in my life, I ask myself  ‘what really matters?’  Living in our new normal during the pandemic is a good time to take stock. Things that made sense in the past, like going to the pool or the gym every morning are not smart choices.  Instead, I walk every day or do some yoga. Hand weights provide strength training. I miss the companionship of playing bridge with friends; online games are fine but lack the social component.

Life edits include evaluation of commitments and saying ‘No’. The commitments that don’t create feelings of excitement and anticipation should be first on the list. Last week I notified the selection committee of a club to which I belong that I was unable to take on more responsibility on the executive committee of the club. A few months ago I would have agreed to more responsibilities but, since doing some life edits, I knew that the commitment would cause more stress and take precious time from other things that matter to me.

For many of us, the pandemic has eliminated commitments and forced us to cut back on social engagements — we’ve been forced to edit activities or find alternatives such as attending meetings with zoom.

With restrictions on socializing during the pandemic, options for changes are limited. Life editing needs to focus on behaviours and attitudes that will carry me through the next few months. What will bring feelings of excitement and fulfillment? Is this time of isolation influencing my personality as well as my options?

Personality Changes

Research shows that ageing results in personality changes, a process referred to as ‘personality maturation’. Research also shows that our personality is linked with well-being as we age.

I’m sure that facing a drastic event such as living through a pandemic also influences personality.  We face an unknown future as nobody quite knows how we will live in ‘new normal’ times.

Thinking about the new normal is another opportunity to evaluate what really matters.

What Really Matters? photo by UN COVID-19 ResponseStay Home
What Really Matters? photo by UN COVID-19 Response

What Really Matters?

Meaningful Connections –Meaningful connections with people I love are top of my list of what really matters. Despite the pandemic, we see our son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren for weekly dinners as they are part of our safe ‘bubble’ of close contacts.  I cherish the one day each week when I pick up my granddaughter from her French Immersion school for our weekly ‘date’. Weather permitting, we hang out at our local park, or bake, or do a special craft.  She helps me with dinner preparations and waits eagerly for her parents and her brother to join us for the evening. After dinner, we play games with the children. Sometimes we dance!  Sometimes we look at a silly tv show! Human connections matter!

Health — Maintaining good health matters more than ever when I consider the challenges faced by the health system during the pandemic.  This is no time to find oneself in the Emergency Room and needing sutures if there is a kitchen mishap with a sharp knife much less than if one suffers a major health event such as a heart attack. Staying physically active, sleeping enough and eating those veggies are three things related to my health over which I have some control. I’ll leave the rest to the gods.

Kindness — I know that I can be kinder — to myself and to those around me. Sometimes I catch myself snapping at my husband for no good reason.  Since the onset of the pandemic, all of us need to cut ourselves more slack. Perhaps if I can show myself more kindness, I will have more tolerance for my husband’s short-comings.

Social Media — Whenever I think about life edits for less wasted time, the first place I look at how much time I spend on social media. Social media can be a black hole. Editing to limit inbound communication, unfollowing people who don’t inspire, and setting timers are my current strategies.

Small Pleasures — I know that a tidy house with less clutter to decrease distractions and stress adds to my pleasure as I stay at home.  Good chocolate, interesting cheeses, and nice wines for happy hour are indulgences for the end of every home-bound day.

Considering what matters in my life offers an opportunity to do pandemic life edits to improve overall happiness. None of these life edits take away from things that I love. Life is fluid and the changed circumstances of the pandemic have helped me to focus on priorities on the life story that I live now rather than what/how I lived before the pandemic.

Thanks for reading my post.  I hope you are inspired to do your own life edits.

11 Replies to “The Pandemic and Life Edits”

  1. So glad you stopped by my blog because now I have discovered yours. I’m especially with you on the chocolate and, of course, you are so right about re-evaluating every part of your life during this dreadful pandemic.

    1. Thanks for checking out my blog and taking the time to comment. I read your blog regularly and your writing usually rings true for my life. I will endeavour to send more comments!

  2. Just found your blog..most interesting! At 71, I also, am trying to deal with small changes & edits. Married, nearly 50 years & just wanting to stay healthy. Am dealing with all the Covid stuff & it’s at times, it’s so trying. Doing Thanksgiving tomorrow, as one of my kids & his family are going to the in-laws on Thurs. A bit of extra work trying to make it all work, outside. BUT, I think it’ll work. Just difficult & not all of us together. Lots to be thankful for & I think this time next year will be hopefully, back to normal.
    Have a nice holiday

    1. I’m glad to hear that you found my blog. Thanks for your comment. We celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving in October. We were at our cottage at Lake Huron with our son, daughter-in-law and two grandchildren enjoying good weather. The extra work of creating the right atmosphere for a celebration while taking the necessary precautions is part of our lives. I hope you enjoyed the time with your family.
      With the 2nd wave of the pandemic now hitting us in Ontario, I’m not sure about how we will celebrate Christmas. It’s one day at a time.

  3. I always enjoy reading your posts. I am so glad you get to have weekly gatherings with your son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren. Things certainly are tough right now, but I am hopeful with the news of the vaccines on the horizon. If we can make it through the next several months, things should get better; although, I do think some things are changed for the rest of our lifetime. I also agree maintaining our health is a top priority. I think all we can do is to take each day as it comes and to try to make the best of it. Stay safe, and enjoy your day tomorrow!

    1. Thank you for your kind comments. I truly hope the vaccines get approval and that most of the population takes the vaccine. I worry about the ‘anti-vaccers’ that influence so many people. I agree with you that many things are changed forever.
      To stay positive, I focus on what I can do each day to bring that wonderful feeling of accomplishment. Over the weekend we finished raking all the heavy leaves from the 13 massive oak trees at our cottage. Thankfully we finished, as we awoke to quite a snowfall at the lake! We packed up and got home safely this afternoon.

      1. Wow, that must have been a ton of leaves! I am glad you got safely home, but I bet the snow was very pretty. I would guess many organizations will require the vaccine – such as schools, companies, etc. We like to go on cruises – it’ll be a while before we do another one – but I fully expect to have to show proof of a vaccine before getting on a ship. I’m sure there will be those who disagree, but if we all survived this year, the rest should be a piece of cake! Enjoy your home and the coming week!

        1. drow for association pickup in the front yard is piled about 4 feet high and stretches across the frontage which is about 60 feet. The leaves from the backyard are raked into huge piles in the wooded area. The oak leaves compost slowly. Oak leaves are like plastic — hard, heavy and slow to deteriorate. When I need compost for gardening, I dig to the bottom of my leaf piles to find compost that is three or four years old!.

          1. Compost is good! Thank heavens some of them get picked up!

  4. Howard C Hansen says: Reply

    I always enjoy your blog but particularly enjoyed this one.

    1. Thank you. I write about the things that are on my mind. I’m happy to know that it brought enjoyment. Stay well,
      Jeanette aka postworksavvy

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