You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
Those are the lyrics of a well known Joni Mitchell song. In 1988, the expression was reprised by Cinderella in a song bearing the idiom as its title.
The truth is, however, we absolutely know what we have. We just take it for granted, and certainly never think we will lose it. Ever. When we are accustomed to something, and have lived a certain way for our entire lives, that is our reality. Why would we even think that this reality might change? After all, we work so hard to keep the status quo. We avoid wars, we turn a blind eye to everything going on in the rest of the world, we rotate similar governments that just keep doing the same things, over and over, year after year. There is really no reason to think that things will ever change unless we really want to. And let’s face it, we don’t really want to.
Cue the pandemic.
All of the sudden, the world as we know it, is gone. We are sheltering in place. We are in close contact only with those we live with, which totally sucks if you are living alone. We can’t visit our relatives in long term care facilities. We have to wear a mask everywhere. We need to keep our distance. Stores, restaurants, festivals, concerts are a thing of the past. And with new variants and a total mess of a vaccine roll out, there is no end in sight.
The world has stopped. We are stuck in place, with nowhere to go. It’s as though someone is holding us still in front of a mirror and forcing us to look at ourselves. It puts things into perspective.
Many of us have taken this down time to reflect and introspect. I know I have. I have thought about my mortality many more times than I care to admit. I also have shifted my focus on what is important: health, family, friends. If you have all these, your legacy is secured. I don’t know about you, but I want to be remembered not by the dollar amount that rests in my bank account, but by the amount of souls I have touched. So that is now my daily mission: touching people’s hearts, especially those close to me. I am working on deepening my current relationships and inviting new ones.
I am guilty of taking things for granted. But I see the err in my ways and now appreciate what I have in front of me, everyday, no matter how big or little it is. I express my gratitude to a “greater power” every night before I go to sleep. That being said, I do mourn some of the things of the past. If you are curious to know what those are, I wrote an article in January about the 10 things I miss the most.
It’s the little things, you know?
But now, here is a list of little things I used to take for granted, but have found a new appreciation for, in no particular order:
1- Walking. Funny thing that such a simple thing as walking would even make this list, but this is literally what is keeping us going during this pandemic. In lockdown, walking is pretty much the only thing we can do, so the kids and I have started weekly hikes back in October. We’ve explored severl parts of Ontario we didn’t even know existed and realized what a beautiful country we live in. There is something primal in connecting with nature. It is energizing and grounding. You can follow our adventures here.
2- Cooking. We are blessed with the fact that we are able to afford a meal delivery kit such as Chef’s Plate or Hello Fresh. The meals are super easy to make, but look like they’re from a 5 star establishment and truly tasty. They add variety to an otherwise blah repertoire and help us get some veggies in. Curious about my plates? Follow me on instagram.
3- Car rides. Also one of the only outings we do weekly, car rides around our province have become part of our weekly ritual. We normally drive between 1 to 2 hours away to go on our hikes, oftentimes going to safer areas, and indulging in a drive through grab and go lunch.
4- The internet. I’m sure you realize that if the internet was not a thing, we would be experiencing this pandemic in a completely different way, not only personally, but as a world. The efforts to stop the spread, from basic mitigation efforts, to the vaccine itself, would not be as effective without the level of collaboration the internet facilitates. Social Media has kept us connected despite social distancing and video chats have allowed us to “see” each other from the comfort of our own homes. It can’t replace a hug, but it sure beats total seclusion and isolation.
5- Home deliveries. Amazon, I love you. With not wanting to go out shopping right now, I sure appreciate the one day shipping option you offer. I also appreciate curb site pickups.
6- Our jobs and their security. Because my husband’s job is secured as he works as an essential worker, we are navigating this pandemic without having to live paycheck to paycheck. I am thankful beyond words for my husband’s hard working ethics and for the benefits that come with it. I also am thankful for a steady flow of work coming my way as a web / graphic designer.
7- Talks with my 16 year old. He is witty, bright and has such an inquisitive mind. Watching him evolve into the young man he is becoming has been one of the greatest blessings in disguise of this pandemic. I secretly wish it doesn’t end just so I can keep him home a little while longer and marvel at watching him become a man. Soon enough, he’ll be gone to University and all I will only have memories of our talks.
8- My hair dresser. For many years, I didn’t care about my hair till I met Louise from Studio 101. I started going to her a few years back. At first, it was foreign to me and I thought it was silly but in time, I really began to enjoy the time I spent at her studio for many reasons. I made it a monthly thing. It was my me time and she kept me looking good, but mostly, it was our chats that kept me going. I so miss our talks.
9- Free healthcare. I don’t know about you, but I look at the various situations around in the world, I am extremely thankful to know that if I need a test for Covid, or if I need treatment for it, it will be taken care of. I won’t have to choose between feeding my family or getting treatment. Similarly, I won’t have to hold off to get my family and I vaccinated because my insurance doesn’t cover it and rent is due in a few days. Free healthcare should be a right, not a privilege, everywhere in the world, and I think this pandemic is bringing this very fact to light in a BIG way. We are a tight knit world, only as strong as our weakest link.
10- Toilet paper. It’s when you need it and there is none on the shelves anywhere that you truly realize how essential it is.
Now it’s your turn! Can you share your list with me? What are have you found a new appreciation for? Comment below.