Lessons Learned

Roughly one year ago, Covid 19 managed to turn the world as I knew it upside down.  I remember picking up my grandson at his daycare, which like almost everything else in my area, was temporarily closing.  “See you in two weeks,” his teacher told us as she waved goodbye.  And I’m embarrassed to say that I mostly believed her.   I had no idea just how badly this virus and its restrictions would impact us, or for how long.

It’s been a long twelve months, and in many ways I’m not the same person I was a year ago.  Never again will I just assume that I can buy what I need, when I need it, or take being able to spend time with my friends and family for granted.  I think I’ll always be a little uncomfortable in a crowded room, wondering just what sort of germs I’m being exposed to, and I will probably keep my trusty little bottle of hand sanitizer stashed in my purse from now on.  As for toilet paper, my new mantra is “you can’t have too much of a good thing.”

7GPiXSO+Rmj7a9KhzqQBut I think the changes go deeper than that.  Living through such a traumatic year (my family also faced some difficulties that had nothing to do with Covid) has taught me a lot about myself, and I think growing in self-awareness is always a good thing.  I learned that I had the ability to be patient, even when I yearned for quick answers and even quicker action.  And while I’ve never been what could be called the “outdoorsy type,” I learned that the more time I spend outside, the calmer and happier I become.  Nature truly is a great healer, for both the body and the soul.  I also figured out that one way to cope with uncertain times is to get busy working on the things I do have control over, even something as mundane as painting the guest bedroom.

I may be a natural introvert who craves some alone time each and every day, but now I also know how desperately I need to stay connected to other people.  Talking with friends and family reminds me that I don’t have to face problems alone, and there is both strength and comfort in that.  That old saying, “a problem shared is a problem halved” is absolutely correct, and a reminder of just how important it is to support each other in our times of need.  And in the face of so much negativity, conflicting “facts” and general fear-mongering, I’ve learned the importance of thinking for myself, doing research when necessary, and trusting in good old-fashioned common sense as much as possible.

So no, I’m not exactly the same person I was twelve months ago, but that’s okay.  In fact, it’s more than okay, because the lessons I’ve learned from the past year have left me better equipped to face the future with hope and confidence.  And for that, I’ll always be grateful.

78 thoughts on “Lessons Learned

  1. Love the post! I have to agree that this last year has changed us in ways big and small. Those who have survived (and to an extent thrived) are the ones who have learned to go with the flow and exert control over what they can. There was a study that showed that when we have a choice or even presumed control, we can endure extreme discomfort. But when we feel helpless and have no choices, even a little discomfort causes physical and mental anguish!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you! And that makes sense. I think one of the hardest part about the Covid restrictions was the feeling of having no choice in the matter. Later, as they were modified, and people had some autonomy, I noticed that most of them had a much better attitude towards the whole situation. And now the vaccines are really giving us hope!

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  2. Ann, your perspective on the last year is a good one. I had an ah ha moment while reading this and realize I’m trying to do what I’ve did before the pandemic and realize now it doesn’t mean the same to me. Now what to do with that revelation is the hard part! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, they help me work through my own.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Lorrie! I think that’s the best part of reading writing: the chance to see something from someone else’s perspective, and often how it makes us see something about ourselves and our own situation too. As for the pandemic, at first I just wanted my life back. But then I was honest and realized that there were problems even before Covid showed up, and that some of the lessons its taught us have actually helped us!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. God post Ann. I think this past year has changed most of us. We no longer take things for granted and cherish time with friends and family more than ever. I cringe when I see crowded scenes on TV shows and movies and wonder if I will ever be comfortable in large gatherings in the future. People keep talking about a world reset. Covid has certainly been a catalyst for that. Stay well and hang on. The vaccine may not solve everything, but it will certainly help. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Allan! I think its going to take longer than we wish for things to “return to normal,” but that it will happen, for the most part. Some things will change for sure, and hopefully for the better. But we will be able to end both the Covid deaths and the horrible isolation of the restrictions.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Greetings, Ann. Have you and/or your husband been vaccinated? Here in Pennsylvania the rollout is being handled clumsily. My wife and I haven’t been able to get appointments yet. Everyone’s lives will be a lot better when a high percentage of the population has been vaccinated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s hit or miss here too, by both the government and the health care organizations. My husband was able to get both of his, and so was my mom, thank goodness. I don’t qualify yet, but I can only hope I will soon. And I hope you and your wife are able to find your vaccinations soon. Register everywhere you possibly can, and let people know you’re looking. When people hear about available appointments, they often pass the information on.

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  5. Like pebbles, we are being constantly shaped by the waves of the huge ocean that surrounds us. And yet, some of the lessons we learn remain our own. I am not sure how many changes we have undergone in these turbulent times, or how much we are hurt by the very many social and economic slaps in the aftermath of it all. What you say about the need for company and sharing of our problems resonates deeply with me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, we are shaped by the forces around us, and some of the lessons we take to heart, but others don’t really relate to us. I’m also not sure how bad the aftermath of all of this will be, but time will tell. I do think we’ll be feeling the aftermath for quite some time, unfortunately. All we can do is help each other through it as best we can. Thanks for letting me know this post spoke to you!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Ann. Thanks for sharing. I think everyone has changed over the past year, in some way or another, and the return to “normal” that people are yearning for doesn’t exist. We’re going to experience a new normal going forward, and hopefully this experience will enable us to take less for granted. Xxx

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    • I do think that our new normal will look a bit different, and that’s okay. I want some parts of my old life back, but not all of them. And most of all, I want to use the lessons I’ve learned as we move forward. Thanks for the comment!

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  7. Ann, I can hear hope and relief singing loud and clear in your post. It has certainly been a wild ride of the year – both for you personally and the US as a whole. At least now, some things are beginning to fall in place. You still have some way to go but there is hope and we all live better days with hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    • One of the many things I discovered about myself during this time was that I absolutely need to have hope. And yes, there is reason to hope for the future, I think, and that is what gives us the courage to carry on. Thank you for your sweet comment!

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  8. If your post can get everyone looking back, I think they will all notice changes in themselves. If any of these changes are for the good – will they keep them when this is over? That’s the question and I doubt any of us knows the answer.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. A great post that reflects what many of us are going through. I am a big believer in the outdoors and when times are tough there is nothing like taking a hoe to weeds and hacking them up. The weeding is done and you feel a lot better.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I feel the same way. I am not who I was a year ago, and I am glad to say that I’m contented with who I’ve become. I take solace in the fact that if nothing else this year has proven I can adapt. We all have, haven’t we?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The positive aspect of your ordeal with Covid is that you were able to appreciate the outdoors as a means to seek refuge in nature. Of course, it will not help with connecting with your friends, neighbours and loved ones. But it is a source that provides a unique way to recharge our batteries.
    I am happy for you, Ann, that you see your inner transformation as a positive in our difficult times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hard times teach us so much about ourselves, and help us appreciate what we do have, I think. I’m not going to lie, I would have much rather this pandemic never hit. But since it did, I think it’s a good idea to use it as a chance to learn and grow!

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  12. I see a swing back into feeling safer (I don’t THINK it’s quarantine fatigue) and not being at constant high alert. I no longer cringe at watching old TV shows & movies where people are standing close to one another, or the characters are pushing thru a crowd in pursuit of as villain.
    But blowing out the candles on a birthday cake? Eating a cake similarly treated? Free samples in the open air of a grocery store? Probably NEVER go back to that!
    Another great & thoughtful post, Ann.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I also like spending time in nature and find it relaxing. A year ago, when this whole virus started and I saw people wearing masks in grocery stores for the first time, I felt like I wanted to burst into tears. Last weekend, my husband and I went out to a local pub after the end of the lockdown in my area. We sat outside on the patio, where no one was wearing a mask at the table. I felt uncomfortable and overcrowded. After a year of the virus and the new safety measurements, it probably also changes the way we think with hand sanitizing and masks. Strange how perception can change over a year.

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    • I know exactly what you mean! On the one hand, we’ve learned how to prevent the spread of viruses. On the other hand, we’ve also learned to basically be afraid of human contact, and that’s not a good thing. I think the trick is going to be to learn to strike the balance in between, where we use common sense, but also recognize that humans are social animals and that we need that contact. It really will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Our perceptions have certainly changed!

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  14. insightful reflection … I used the sanitizer I had in my bag from my last trip to Asia. It was there that I learnt the hygiene habits most only became aware of a year ago. That training held me in good stead.

    Here our restrictions are generally lifted, life has returned to the new ‘normal’ and I pray ppl will retain the wisdom they gained from this dramatic episode.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The restrictions haven’t been super strict here for a while, and now they are loosening further. I hate how we’ve been conditioned to fear basic human contact, but on the other hand, I do like how we’re more aware of how viruses are transmitted. The sanitizers and masks really weren’t so hard for me to adjust to, because our grandson was born during a flu epidemic, so my husband and I were really careful right before and after his birth so as not to get the flu and not be able to see him!

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  15. I really think that we can find many positive outcomes from the last year. Fully realizing that I come from a place of privilege (no work to lose, the ability to isolate easily, supportive spouse, etc.) I know that I will look back with plenty of “thank gawd that’s all over” mixed with the comfort of knowing that that I am strong and resilient. My housekeeping abilities have atrophied a but, though. The other day a (second doser like ourselves) neighbor dropped by and I was a bit embarrassed having him come inside. Dusting and clearing clutter have been a lost art around here 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, yeah, we’ll be so thrilled when it’s over! And you’re right, those of us who were able to weather the pandemic easily were privileged, compared to those who lost a loved one, their job, their home, their sanity, etc…. But I think all of us who have lived through it learned and grew, and my hope is that we can carry that onward.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. You have such a positive and sunny attitude, Ann. I have to say that i agree with everything you wrote. I’ve learned a lot over the past year and it has taught me appreciation for many things I took for granted. For certain, I told my youngest son (he’s 25 and lives with me) that I never thought we would spend so much time together at this stage in life. And I let him know as hard as this pandemic was for him, there will be many pleasant memories of our time together – cooking, commiserating and sharing.
    I hope someday – I’m right.
    Thank you again for your thoughtful post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I truly believe you are right, Judy! As hard as this was, we did learn some things and there were gifts. I’m closer to my grandson (I watched him during Covid) and my husband (he’s fighting cancer) than I ever was before, and I cherish what I do have so much more than I did before this hit. The trick will be to take the lessons with us, and leave the fears behind. But I do think we can do that!

      Liked by 2 people

  17. I loved this post! You are so right about the lessons we have learned! In the midst of this awful pandemic, we have learned that we are strong and capable. With the help of God, we are able to get ourselves and one another, through some very difficult times. Life is a precious gift. So much of what you say in this post is true; although we appreciated our blessings before, how much more so, we do now!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Linda! I do think that there are blessing from even the hardest times, and that they can outlast the hard times if we let them. I’m a stronger, more confident person now than I was a year ago, with a better sense of my priorities, and most of all, I REALLY understand how important it is that we support each other as we journey through life. When times are good, it’s easy to get bogged down in trivial things. When times are hard, we figure out what’s important really fast!

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  18. Ann, a wonderful and reflective post taking in the most crazy and traumatic year. It would be beyond sad if we had not learned more about ourselves during this time, if things do not change for the better. I wholeheartedly agree about the healing properties of nature and relished the permitted hour allowed outside for walks, along the way learning to appreciate it more than ever, looking at familiar views with new vision! Ann, I’m happy you have found new strength going forward, learnt more about yourself during this time. haha … I’m smiling at the loo paper sentence, things went a bit crazy for a while last year!😀 Here’s to new-learned wisdom, here’s to common sense always! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I’ve come to value so many things more than I ever did before I lived through this awful year, but who would have thought that one of those things would have been the need for a large stash of toilet paper? Ha!
      Seriously, I’m glad you’re getting the most out of your daily walks and hope you are permitted to have more of them soon. Nature helps us so much!

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  19. Very good summary of the last year, Ann. What began as an introvert’s dream, has turned into a socially-distant monotony. Of course, I am grateful to be much more fortunate than most. I too think I am forever changed. Even after the pandemic is over, I will probably keep my mask handy and still wash my hands as if I was about to perform surgery.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I think we’ll all be “germ-a-phobes” for quite a while after this! (And who knows? Maybe future flu seasons won’t be so bad because of it!) But yes, the social distance stuff has become very old, and we’re all more than ready to be able to interact with one another again. It has been especially hard on the elderly, as their isolation was the worst. As for the economy, we can only hope it will recover some day. Thank goodness for the vaccines, so that we can soon safely come out of our isolation! Always good to hear from you, Joe!

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  20. Beautifully written Ann. And I so agree. Despite all the craziness, stresses and hardships of the past year I honestly believe there have been many silver linings and blessings. I hope we can all take these lessons and move forward in compassion, learning from the past and hopefully more united in how we live and treat each other in the future. 🙏❤️

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  21. This wasn’t so much a year of learning new lessons for me as it was a year of being thankful for lessons already learned that could be applied in this very odd situation. You mentioned one: focusing on what’s in my control, and letting the rest go. Many of the lessons that were being repeated ad nauseum (Wash your hands!) I learned from my mother when I was two years old, so that wasn’t so hard. For me, probably the most difficult challenge was not giving in to the invitations to fear and panic that were everywhere.

    Now? I’m fully vaccinated, as are most of the people I socialize with. Those who aren’t have received one shot, and it’s possible now for anyone over the age of 50 to be immunized. People still are taking precautions — I’ll continue to wear a mask in the grocery store, for example — and despite the hoopla about Texas “Neanderthals,” there’s little sign that people intend to run wild. We’ll see how the college set does during Spring Break! In the meantime, people are dining together again, attending plays, and having game nights. It’s not quite normal, but it’s ever so much better than it was.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so lucky to live in a state where anyone over 50 is eligible for the vaccine! In Missouri, they cut off the age at 65, so anyone under that without health issues, who is not an essential worker, or not of a race that was hit extra hard by Covid, is last to receive the vaccine. But hopefully it won’t be too long before I can get one. I also agree that the biggest challenge during these times has not to give in to the fear and panic that are certainly being encouraged. My husband and mother have been vaccinated fully, and until I am, I’ll just continue to cautiously live my life!

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      • Are you in Missouri? From your header photo, I’d assumed you’re in Florida or the Carolinas or somewhere. I get to Missouri relatively often — or did, prior to you-know-what — becauser that’s where my last living relatives are, in and around KCMO. Who knows? We may be able to have a cup of coffee someday! (

        Liked by 1 person

        • The photo is from the beach on Sanibel Island, which is one of my favorite places to visit, so you were right about Florida! And yeah, maybe we could meet for coffee someday when you’re here! I’m in St. Louis, but who knows?

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  22. The thing that you said that resonated most for me was thinking for myself. I’d always thought of myself as an independent thinker, but prior to this past year, if something medical like a bird flu was an issue, I’d just go check what the CDC had to say and accept it.

    But having watched so many medical experts flip-flopping on what to do–don’t wear a mask, do wear a mask, wear two masks, etc.–I’ve learned to dig deeper and find my own sources.

    Now with the vaccines, we can’t quite look back on it, but my husband just got his first shot, and I’m supposed to be on a shortlist for my first. He said he feels like he’s seven weeks from being able to live an ordinary life again. I can’t wait.

    In some ways I’m better off–I’ve got several months of food set aside for emergencies, plus tp, and that’s a good thing. It’s not over yet–the economic experts don’t agree on the extent of possible fallout, and of course, not everyone who wants a vaccine has gotten one. But there’s hope of real resolution soon, and that’s a powerful remedy all on its own. : )

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was the same way with previous medical issues, but as you say, we’re being told so many things (and not all of them add up) that we’ve had to learn to do a little research on our own and take the morning news with a “grain of salt.” I’m so glad your husband got his shot and that you will soon! Because I also agree that the vaccines are a huge sign of hope on the horizon, and I think the roll-out will continue to get faster and more efficient. After the year we’ve had, we do need something to look forward to!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I really hope we are! I see some hopeful signs, and some not so hopeful signs (we still seem to have little use for those who differ from us, and civil discourse is conspicuous by its absence). But we can’t control how others behave, only ourselves…so if we each make the decision to use the lessons we’ve learned in the past year, we’re at least doing our part towards making our country a better place!

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  23. Yes, Covid-19 has brought changes to my life that have affected me as well. Just before Covid, I was planning to visit my best friend, but this Covid has been good, nevertheless. It has brought out some hidden qualities in me, and even though I havent seen my family and BFF for 2 years already, I do not feel as if it has cut us off. I know I’ll feel closer to them when I see them again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry you have gone so long without seeing your best friend and family, but glad that you’ve managed to stay close to them even so. Yes, I do think it will be that much better when you finally do see them. Thank you so much for visiting my blog and leaving a comment!

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  24. Dear Ann, I can sypathize with you! I have not seen my dear cousins and grandparents for 2 years!
    I have read nearly all of your posts from 2015-2021, and they really help make me reflect on the beauty of life.
    Best wishes,
    Kayleigh

    Liked by 1 person

  25. It has always amazed me that most writers are introverts

    We write our way through most days

    The time we need to ourselves is as natural to us as breathing

    Through lockdowns/sheltering in/ quarantine – we fair better

    We all have changed. How can we not.

    Now we can look back and read stories like yours and be encouraged to think about and write our own change.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is kind of surprising, because writers are always putting their thoughts on paper for others to read, which doesn’t actually seem like something an introvert would do. I guess we just feel better communicating by the written word, and of course introverts do enjoy social contact, they just don’t want it all the time. Thanks for your thoughtful comment!

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  26. Pingback: Lessons Learned — Muddling Through My Middle Age | annaworries.wordpress.com

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