Don’t forget to play

“Let’s get back to playing Aunt Stef!”

This has become the tagline for my new life under COVID-19 as I’m living under the same roof as an adorable – yet exhausting – toddler.  Like everyone, my life has been altered more than I could have imagined this year, but several months into it – protests and all – I am truly grateful for this time to reflect, reconnect, and re-energize my body and soul.

Let me explain how my four-year old nephew has helped me through this difficult time.

Reflect

The pandemic has definitely given us all more time to think about our life direction – past, present, and future.  It can be valuable to learn from our past choices and try to better understand ourselves, but this extra time to think can also bring in unnecessary judgement of our past, anger towards ourselves and others in the moment, or fears of the future. Although it is hard to admit, other than our thoughts, we actually have very little control of the world around us now, and even pre-pandemic. So with this extra time to think, I have been inspired by my nephew’s ability to start each day new, learning what he can from the past but not being burdened or trapped by yesterday.

Reconnect

I lived abroad for many years and rarely saw my family more than once or twice a year, now I find myself under the same roof, planning weekly dinners and deciding which TV series to watch together next. While the sudden loss of independence was jolting at first, the cliché a blessing in disguise has never rung more true for me. Before the pandemic, to my nephew I was an image in a picture or a video, but never a playmate – now we play together every day and I get to watch him grow and discover new joys on a regular basis.

Re-energize

Change is difficult to accept, and even you accept the need for change, how to adapt and implement the change you know is needed can be another challenge in itself. If the pandemic has done one thing for sure, it has forced the whole world to change whether you were ready or not. This can be exhausting mentally and physically, so simply finding the energy to be open and accept change is essential.  At the start of the pandemic, I found myself feeling tired and unmotivated.  While I won’t deny living with a four-year old is exhausting, watching his positivity and energy is contagious.  His routine has also been affected by the pandemic but he continues to smile through it all, coming up with creative ways to play in whatever environment and whoever he is around.

Ok, that’s enough talking – let’s get back to playing!

Published by Stefanie

www.stefaniedoolittle.com

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