A while back I decided to do another journaling challenge to reflect on my time in quarantine which had its ups and its downs.
Like many people, my social interactions have been limited to face timing my friends for virtual game nights & waving at the grocery delivery people through the dining room window.
I also managed to pick up a few new hobbies such as blogging, cooking, gardening, and remotely volunteering with HOPEFUL Inc. as a marketing and communications specialist.
While I think many of us can agree that coping with the trauma of living through a global pandemic and systemic racism and police brutality is more than any one person (African Americans in particular) can handle. There are still some key life lessons I learned from this time in quarantine.
Here are some of my personal takeaways I wanted to share with all of you!
God is removing certain people and positions and temptations from your life to set you up for success
I realized early on that not everyone can come with me on my career and life journey.
Nor will everyone be accepting and agree with all of my decisions but it is the path I must take for myself and with God alone.
There will be people who tell you you’re not doing enough or you’re not good enough.
At the end of the day, I understand that I am the one who has to live with myself and be around myself longer than anyone else does so I might as well enjoy it!
Plus by spending less time focused on the outside world I actually realized that I had way more time and energy to devote my efforts to other things. Like building a strong foundation with the internal relationships in my life and helping others.
Doing so has allowed me to see things and understand my purpose in ways I never would have understood otherwise.
I realized that we have so many resources at our disposal so much so that we often have no idea what to do with them.
Did you know that something as simple as an old tennis shoe could be used to grow plants and harvest them?
Neither did I!
Something that we throw away because it’s old and beat up could serve so much purpose and bring about new life if we allow it to.
So before you throw away your dreams or when you’re feeling inadequate look around you and think about how useful you can be.
It doesn’t take a whole bunch of money or magic to make something work, it is simply a matter of being consistent and intentional with what you already have.
Another lesson I learned is that a lot of times when plans got canceled that is God's way of blocking things that were not meant for you
I know that even better opportunities and relationships will arise out of this pain and struggle.
I believe that as you elevate in life things and people begin to change around you. And the people who know their place in your life will either step up with you or step aside.
So many businesses were shut down last year due to the pandemic and so many people's plans got canceled.
According to the Federal Reserve Board, the pandemic resulted in the "permanent closure of roughly 200,000 U.S. establishments above historical levels during the first year of the viral outbreak. In recent years, about 600,000 establishments have permanently closed per year, or about 8.5%, according to the study."
Even though many businesses shut down we are still here and we can finally start to rebuild a better opportunity for you and those around you. You don't have to do it alone.
One thing I wish the world would learn from this pandemic is that we are stronger together than we are apart.
I had to let go of relationships and friendships last year that no longer served a purpose in my life. I lost positions and opportunities thatI couldn’t commit to anymore.
But in this process of losing and adjusting to the new normal, I found myself.
So many people put their lives on the line so that we (the next generation) could have a better future.
I wish people would slow down and appreciate the blessing that simply is life! Wearing a mask, being mindful even with the vaccine, and doing your part can really make a difference.
We don’t have to feel like it’s a weakness, there is strength in admitting when you need help
Going through a worldwide pandemic is a traumatic experience.
I wish more people would talk about mental health and be open about when they are in distress not only during mental health awareness month but all year round. We have all been traumatized in one way or another and it’s okay to admit that.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC, during August 2020–February 2021, "the percentage of adults with recent symptoms of anxiety or a depressive disorder increased from 36.4% to 41.5%, and the percentage of those reporting an unmet mental health care need increased from 9.2% to 11.7%. Increases were largest among adults aged 18–29 years and those with less than high school education."
Although it may affect people differently we all have a responsibility to ourselves and our loved ones to make sure our health doesn’t go unchecked.
Before this pandemic I was always on the go, I always had meetings to run and classes to study for, and work responsibilities to do and I was ashamed to admit that I needed help.
I was overwhelmed.
But when I look back I realize now that taking a break is nothing to be ashamed of.
I understand now what makes a person strong isn’t being able to do everything on their own but it’s having a support system around you.
Make sure that your support system uplifts and encourages you and nudges you in the right direction and is there for you no matter what.
On my worst days, I could always count on my family and a handful of friends to be there for me.
I also learned that if you only live for yourself then you will never truly have joy and real power
You are only as strong as your weakest link and I have to remember that when thinking about my own family unit.
Real power is not about material possessions. Actual power and wealth come from being comfortable with who you are and doing what you love.
There is no time frame or measurement on joy and fulfillment. We don’t have to do everything all at once all on our own.
True joy and happiness have to come from within.
And yeah sure you can go to other countries and you can meet tons of people and make tons of money but at the end of the day if you’re not satisfied with yourself then you are taking your misery with you everywhere you go. You’ll miss out on so many good experiences living in the past and stressing over the future.
Sure you might find temporary satisfaction or happiness by moving to another place or by being with somebody else.
However if you are not looking within yourself for joy and happiness it is not going to fill your cup forever and it’s not gonna last.
And let me say this self sabotage is real and dangerous!
It can affect your work, finances, relationships and personal self image. Self sabotage will have you underestimating what you are truly capable of and procrastinating on your ambitions.
It will hinder you from evolving and cause you to suppress your feelings and lash out at those around you.
But the good news is there are ways to stop self sabotaging behavior and it starts with creating an action plan.
Sometimes life is like a slingshot constantly pulling you back a notch and every time you think that you’re getting knocked down, God is actually pulling you back a notch and preparing you so that He can propel you forward.
When you can push through all of those boundaries that you thought were holding you back and realize you are being prepared for better things to come you’ll find more confidence and joy.
Just because your progress is not measurable doesn’t mean that it’s not meaningful.
So keep training yourself every day to be better, I know I am.
And when you are finally ready to go back into the world it will mean something and the impact will be even bigger than you could've ever imagined.
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