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These months of quarantine have helped Megan Swaim's family to see some things they were missing, things that they don’t want to end when they get back to “real life.”

“We should have been doing this all along!” That’s what we were all saying at the end of our multi-hour Zoom call. It has been 13 years since we graduated college, we live in six different states, and even though we try to get together occasionally and send goofy group texts, it’s been hard to keep in touch with everyone regularly and in a meaningful way. But then quarantine happened and schedules opened up, Zoom became an everyday tool, and someone had the bright idea to turn our group text into a video chat. And we’ve been meeting over Zoom regularly since. 

That’s been one of the good things our family has discovered from the months of quarantine -- learning how to be more creative with technology so that it serves us and not the other way around. We live 12 hours away from our families and many of our long-time friends, and it’s hard to stay connected. (And open-ended video chats are just hard for our small children.) But in quarantine we found it easier to jump on Zoom to read books with friends and cousins, to have a virtual game night, a girls’ night, a big family rosary. When I think of the time we’ve spent catching up, laughing, sharing life ... why weren’t we doing this all along? 

We’ve also discovered the joy of taking daily walks. The consistency of it helped us pay attention to the details of the changing seasons from winter to spring and summer -- watching the same trees go from barren branches to lush with blossoms and then green leaves. Catching glimpses of baby birds, ducks, turtles and frogs with their mamas and keeping track of their growth. And we ask ourselves, why weren’t we doing this all along? 

These months have helped us to see some things we were missing, things that we don’t want to end when we get back to “real life.” So in addition to asking myself “Why weren’t we doing this all along?” I also am asking myself, “What have we not missed?” Sometimes when we have to take a step back, it’s easier to see clearly what’s been taking up too much room in our lives, and if it was really serving us in the first place, or if we were serving it. 

I suspect that we all have a list like this: “things” we want to keep, but also things we want to let go. I don’t miss shopping, mindlessly browsing the aisles, or having to go to multiple stores because I’m being particular. I’m finding that “making do” works just fine for us. I don’t miss the frequent meltdowns because I’ve pushed us all past meal time, nap time, or our limits so we could fit in just one more thing in a day. We’re becoming more thoughtful and organized about the when and why of outings. 

Hopefully summer is a good time for all of us as we ease back into normal life and start thinking about what things will look like in the fall and beyond. I’m eager to hear what would be on your list. What haven’t you missed? And what do you wish you had done all along?

Copyright 2020 Megan Swaim

Image: Pixabay (2010)