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Moving Slowly Towards a Better Self

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all become more accustomed to unpredictability in the past year. Whether you’re one to embrace this change or not, our perception of “normal” has undoubtedly experienced a shift. A little over a year of adapting to the unknown, we’re finally starting to transition back to the pre-COVID-19 way of doing things—and it’s exciting. Leaving the mask at home, reconnecting with friends and family, traveling—the list goes on and on. Our calendars are likely filling up at a rate many of us dreaded before we were forced to slow down and stay home.

So as things begin to pick up, I wonder if there are any principles we should hold onto from our period of inactivity. It’s easy to look at the extra at-home time and think of all the opportunities lost. Many of us missed events and celebrations, but many of us also connected again with parts of ourselves that we had lost in the chaos of everyday life. The additional time spent inside the four walls of our home presented us with the opportunity to take care of ourselves in ways we didn’t have time to before.

It has been an eye opening experience. Having the time and space to reflect on our goals, passions, desires and dreams was a mental shift in and of itself. We were so used to constantly moving forward, many of us lost track of where we were even going—and why. While this question introduces its own challenges, it taps into considering who we want to become, as opposed to who others want us to be or what others expect of us.

Finding the time and space to cherish our own wants and needs allows us to grow into the best version of ourselves. Reflecting on where we are going is scary in that it may lead us to discover the path we once chose, is not in fact the one we now desire. Instead of choosing to start over, some chose to keep treading. But just maybe, some of us questioned this automatic response to keep going and discovered the purpose behind the movement of everyday. This led some of us to choose an alternative career path, or pushed others to try something new, but at the very least, it challenged us to choose our own journey, rather than those subsequently set out for us.

So here we are in June of 2021; some things have changed, some have remained the same. We are once again faced with a challenging question—whether to speed things up or slow things down. Immersing ourselves in the ability to be busy again, some of us will fall back into old patterns of packed schedules with little room to think about the “why” behind what we’re doing everyday. I watched myself fall into thinking that a packed calendar would provide me with a shortcut to success, but not really knowing why.

As I continue to move forward, I challenge myself to incorporate what I’ve learned about myself, as well as what I felt I lost. I’ve chosen to move into this summer committed to making time for what makes me happy in the moment, instead of doing what I think would make me, or others, happy in the future. I challenge all of us to continue to choose ourselves as we slowly start to lose some of the space to do so. Let's go towards the things that fill us up each day, whether it be fast or slow, and do what ultimately makes us happy.

-Elizabeth Wells

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