Fresh Air

Over the past weekend, parks in New Jersey finally opened after being close for about a month to stem the Covid-19 spread. It was perfect timing because it turned out to be an idyllic spring weekend, the kind where you want to languish lazily and not do much of anything. On Saturday, we spent hours spent on our deck, reading and listening to music. Then, we finally left the house on Sunday with our dog, Brady, and just walked around and discovered a state park we have never been to.

A little bit of exposure to life pre-coronavirus this weekend got me thinking as to what things I’d like to continue once this whole pandemic is over. Our routines have changed a great deal over the last month or so and I think now that we have this quarantine life down, I have a better perspective on what really matters in our lives right now, and maybe the near future. Here are some of them…

• Give my girls room to grow – I’ve been amazed with how bravely both of my daughters are handling the lockdown — going to their online classes diligently, working out on their own, face timing friends, playing their instruments. In their downtime, they have proven to be resourceful with finding ways to fill their spare time. Don’t get me wrong, they still spend an awful lot of time on their phones and computers. But I realized that sometimes when I let them do their thing, I find my girls more accountable. With backing off, I begin to see that both them want to do well, not because they’ll get in trouble with me but because their desire to do well has become more of their personal journey.

• Appreciate the space I occupy – For the last 20 years or so, I take pride in packing my bags to leave for the summer to go to France or discover a foreign country. Well, that ain’t happening this year or anytime soon with all the travel bans. And as bummed as I am with not discovering a new culture this summer, I find that I am actually looking forward to staying local. After all, my childhood summers were very much about taking a road trip somewhere to see family who live in different states. That was when we would catch up with cousins and create long-lasting memories. When it comes down to what truly matters, it’s not about the destination of your summer vacation but more about the quality of time spent with people you love.

• Giving leads to wellbeing – One of the biggest revelations to me during this lockdown is how positive I felt after performing an act of kindness or reaching out to others who may need help. So is it bad to say that helping others can be a selfish act? I don’t think so. I strongly believe that charity is like a wheel of positive reinforcement — it starts with a selfless gesture that yields to feelings of satisfaction and joy for everyone around. It’s what psychologists call “helper’s high,” the buzz we experience after volunteering or doing something to help someone in need.

What about you? Have you given thoughts on what you want to continue doing after the lockdown is lifted? I’d love to know…

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