Hi everyone! I hope you all are having a good start to your new year. On New Year's Eve, I spent the evening reflecting back on 2020 and realized that it wasn't all bad. Yes, a lot of bad things happened in that year, to others as well as myself, but a lot of good came out of that year as well. I realized that good and bad can coexist, it's up to you which one you focus on. I wanted to share one of the great improvements that came out of the pandemic for me. My relationships, yes relationships. You see, I have a great circle but it took a whole pandemic to be able to see that I wasn't able to enjoy the fullness of them due to my past work schedule. The day I realized this was when I called a friend of mine 3 days in a row to talk to them. We had talked already that week, but since the world was shut down, I had more time to chat. On the 3rd day of not being able to reach them, they returned my call in a frantic asking if I was sure that I was ok? I let them know that I was and asked them, "Why did they ask like that?", seeing that I left a message saying that I was just calling to chat? They then told me that I never call that often or can talk that often so they automatically thought something must be wrong. Now keep in mind, my friend is saying this with genuine concern. It then dawned on me that I have been so wrapped up in work that I was only able to give a minimal amount of time to my friends. To the point that if I started calling more than normal it would trigger them to think there was something wrong and I was trying to get in contact with them. I decided then to make sure that from that point forward that I would create a life that allowed me to nurture the relationships that I had. I started putting my work aside as I chatted with people. I started checking in and showing up more often. I started being present. I learned during the pandemic that you can have relationships that are good or you can be present and have relationships that are great. One of my greatest success stories of this is my relationship with my mother. We have always had a rocky interaction, to say the least, for many reasons from both sides. During the pandemic, I felt like I finally understood what she meant when she said that she needed more from our relationship. Pre-covid, whenever she would say this it would mean something else, that I won't go into on this platform, and would trigger me in a negative way. When I started showing up for my friends, I also started showing up for my mother as well. She was having a hard time adjusting to the solitude that came with the lockdowns and she finally agreed to chat via video calling, something I was trying to get her to do for the last 3 years. When we started video calls via Zoom, it was like a whole new relationship was born. We started chatting not only like mother and daughter, but as also as friends. My mother needed more, more time from me. More QUALITY time to be specific, and I was able to give this to her due to the pandemic. I can honestly say that I now have a very loving and friendly relationship with my mom and it would have never happened if the pandemic never occurred. For all of this, I am so grateful! I have felt so much love and support, the kind I craved, and never realized that it was always there. I just needed to be present in order to see it and live it! Now I am making sure that whatever I do as a career, it HAS to support the ability to spend time with my loved ones. Until next time beautiful people. - FLL

Photo credit: Photo by Moose Photos

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