Written By Breigh, – Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

Do you remember where you were when your state announced the Stay-at-Home Order? 

I mean, let’s face it– you were probably at home. But what were you doing? What were you thinking?

The Stay-at-Home order felt like a huge relief for me, personally. I was so damn excited to have an excuse to not work… to not have to commute to campus… to attend class and meetings with pajama pants on… to be able to cook an entire meal in between therapy sessions… to finish that load of laundry during class breaks— it felt like a dream. 

In those first few months, I didn’t even think twice about how this was fundamentally changing our world— changing me. I even feel a sense of guilt for that initial bout of relief, knowing that it came at the expense of thousands of people losing their lives. 

If you’re reading this, that means you’re over 365 days in… 

It means that you’re surviving through this pandemic and have experienced one of the most bizarre, dramatic, disheartening years of your life. 

I think throughout this year, I’ve navigated most of it on autopilot– trying not to put too much thought into things… trying not to future-trip so much… trying not to get too ahead of myself because there were so many things outside of my control. 

I think we can all relate to how difficult it’s been to remain present and engaged in life with this context. 

And now, one year later… I think I can actually come up for air after I’ve been holding my breath for so long. Scared to breathe. Terrified to relax. Uncomfortable with being present because the world around me felt so chaotic. 

And now that I can breathe a little clearer, I just want to reflect on what I think I learned over the course of a year. Hopefully some of these resonate with you.

  • It’s okay to rest.

I have always felt immense pressure to always be productive– always be doing something. I was able to give myself permission to just not do anything (mostly because that was forced upon me) and I enjoyed every second of it. 

  • Abnormal reactions to abnormal situations are normal reactions.

We have literally never lived through a pandemic before– so the behaviors that we exhibit, the way we navigate and understand the world, and the way we move can be different than what we are used to. We can’t hold ourselves to standards that were in place when everything was “normal.” We have to adjust to the times and give ourselves grace for how we are navigating the current world. 

  • Your job doesn’t deserve your everything. 

I really observed this year that things will be okay without me. For so many years, I shamed myself for taking breaks or off-days because of this false perception that I was the only person who could do my job… or that my job or clients wouldn’t be able to function without me. We don’t exemplify how committed or effective we are by draining all of our energy on work. The more we take care of ourselves and prioritize ourselves, we’re more efficient in our roles. You first though. 

  • Relationships cannot survive on convenience alone.

Did y’all realize how hard it was to stay connected to people over this year? I mean, picking up the phone and calling people was a whole thing. I had to start scheduling facetime dates and phone calls with my people which I did not appreciate. I was so spoiled pre-pandemic times when it came to maintaining relationships– when I had the luxury of spontaneity and “pulling up.” As I reflect, I realize that a lot of my relationships were based on convenience and that when it came time to put in more work/time/energy to staying connected, I wasn’t willing/able to do that. I love the spontaneity that comes with organic plans, but I also realize that I have to make intentional time for the people I love and care about. If not, it’s only natural that you drift apart. 

  • You are capable of whatever you put your mind to. 

I bet if you told your past self what you’d be going through over the next year, you wouldn’t believe yourself. Whatever has transpired for you over this past year, you got through it– you’re getting through it. That’s huge. This year has been hard for arguably everyone and yet you’re here reading this blog post… reflecting on where you were a year ago. That’s a win to me. Hopefully moving forward, we won’t question our ability to do hard things. 

Whew, that felt good… to reflect on what I’ve learned this past year. It’s so tempting to want to call this last year a wash— to say I’m happy it’s over and that the entire year was a loss. But in all actuality, it’s probably given me a lot more than what it’s taken away as I reflect on what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown. These are life lessons that I know will comfort me when shit hits the fan again. 

N****, we made it (barely).

P.S. We are still very much in the middle of a pandemic. It’s not over. Keep surviving. 

– Breigh, Official Contributor of The Crowned Series

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