Written by Tami Sulistyo
June 12, 2020
The pandemic has incentivized me. I have created a new habit. One that I always thought was a good idea but had never put in real thought, time and effort to make happen. It was just one of those far off things that I knew would be good for me but was simply not a priority. It could wait because I had plenty of other things to fill my time. It was important but not urgent. It was for later. At some distant point in the future. Except now it feels as urgent as it is important.
What have I done? I got my ducks in a row, my affairs in order so that if I did get covid-19 and did not survive, I would not be a burden. Sounds morbid. But realistic. And smart. And the right thing to do. Even though I feel the healthiest I have ever been and am taking all the precautions to avoid getting the coronavirus.
I had a health care directive, a will, and a life insurance policy from 20 years ago but couldn’t even find them and certainly needed to update them. There were other things on the list as well that I have slowly been ticking off as I make sure to get them done. And it feels great! I feel lighter, happier, confident, knowing that I no longer have the weight of those undone things hanging over me.
Then I got to thinking. Not rocket science. Just not common for me. Why don’t I make a new habit of living each day the way I think I should anyway, even when there is no threat like covid-19 staring me in the face. Even though many days I will fail miserably, how about I try my best to be intentional and mindful about living each day as the precious commodity it really is. As if I didn’t have a guarantee of decades ahead of me. Since that is not a sure thing for any of us anyway. I just act like it is. Not anymore. I have the pandemic to thank for putting me straight. For making it especially poignant to me that each day is actually the gift everyone says it is.
So what does that mean in reality day to day for me? The minute I wake up, I find myself automatically saying: “This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it ” and “Today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present.” After my morning routine I look at my calendar, where I have put placeholders to remind me of what for me is both urgent and important for the day. These are my big rocks, from the big rocks theory: https://youtu.be/SqGRnlXplx0
In the past, my big rocks more often than not all had to do with tasks – the tasks of moving work and home priorities forward. Now, the majority of time my big rocks have to do with what is truly the most important to me: the people I want to spend quality time with, my health, and the impact I want to make. So today I practiced qi gong on the deck in the morning while the sun was shining and birds were singing. I worked, getting done what needed to get done for my job just before having lunch with my family. I had built in time over the course of the week so that I could take a walk by the river with my mom and dog. And now I am writing. This is how I would have wanted to spend my time today if time was limited. I know I am blessed to be able to live this way. I do not take it for granted. I am extremely appreciative of it.
And now I have the new habit of doing my best to live this way each day, every day, regardless of circumstances. And it feels great. The other things, the tasks, get done too, but not at the cost of sacrificing what is truly the most important to me. I put that stake in the ground and there is no going back. I am in a much better place with this new way of being, new way of living. I used The Power of Focus by Jack Canfield, https://www.jackcanfield.com/ and the Tiny Habits theory to help me make this a lasting change: https://www.tinyhabits.com/
And of course, as predicted, I fall short almost every single day. But that’s ok. It’s a perfectly imperfect life I live. Here is to you, and to me, and our perfectly imperfect lives!