When 2020 began, no one could have imagined how vastly different the world would look by summer: face masks in public places; families taking part in a widespread experiment in remote learning; technological devices evolving from tools into social lifelines; and the terms quarantine, essential worker and social distancing becoming part of the global lexicon.
I have written at length about the ways in which this pandemic has affected supply chains, with a view to learning from these experiences. So, to complement that, here are some of my personal discoveries — which I hope will endure as we get to a place that at least borders on normal.
Bonding over good work. I am no longer one of only a handful of remote employees at ASCM. Seeing my colleagues’ faces every day makes me feel more connected to, and proud of, the important work we’re doing at a time when effective supply chains are so critical.
Reimagining meals. To avoid unnecessary trips to the grocery store, I’m looking to the fridge and pantry for culinary inspiration. In so doing, I’ve become a more creative cook while cutting down on food waste.
Walking instead of driving. I only venture out in my car when absolutely necessary, and I’ve learned that walking is much more rewarding anyway. It’s healthier for me (love the Fitbit step-goal celebrations), my dogs are excellent company, and it’s much better for the planet.
Being intentional about friend-and-family time. Scheduling online cocktail hours with friends or FaceTiming my parents just to catch up has highlighted the value of the people in my life who form my inner circle, and I’m so grateful for them.
Connecting and communicating with my husband. Living in close quarters with a professional trombonist fills my life with beautiful music — but sometimes my cup runneth over. We made a rule: Any moment of friction must be immediately followed by a moment of appreciation.
Valuing quality time with my kids. With one daughter in college and the other about to graduate high school, I am soaking up the hours spent in friendly competition over a board game, on the walking trails or gathered by the fire pit at the end of the day.
Realizing my closet is well-stocked. With clothing stores closed, I haven’t been tempted to buy anything new, and I’ve found I have plenty already. This is saving me money — plus, I’m not adding to the tons of clothing already in landfills.
Reawakening my inner child. Over the past few months, my family members have grown fruits and vegetables; painted jars, broken records and decks of old playing cards; built a magical twinkle-light photo display; had dance parties; and lots more. Recapturing the feeling of childlike excitement has definitely been a highlight of our time in quarantine.
Remembering how lucky I am. So many people are suffering right now, and so many others are putting themselves on the line for the rest of us. I have been doing my part to help by donating to the Red Cross and purchasing gifts card to support local businesses, but I know that I am incredibly fortunate to have a healthy family and a job that I can do from the safety of my home.
Celebrating the present. As travel plans and events were abruptly canceled, and stay-home orders repeatedly extended, the concept of looking forward to the future became an exercise in disappointment. So, I am choosing to focus on right now, confident that the sacrifices we all make today will create a safer, stronger and more united global community tomorrow.