Confessions of an Introvert: The Gifts of Coronavirus
“There is a LIGHT in this world. A healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometime lose sight of this force when there is suffering, and too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.”
― Richard Attenborough
So… I must stay home??
As an introvert, I can’t figure out how this could be bad. I’m fortunate to have a career that allows working from home, but always felt a twinge of guilt executing the option. Should I be at the office, networking, socializing – like everyone else? Introverts are energized by solitude and now, suddenly the world wants me to be alone! Do I have enough yoga pants? Will my book list get some attention? What will happen to my voice after 48 hours without conversation?
While I initially looked forward to the “New Normal”, something entirely different has manifested. This was not the introvert paradise I imagined. After 30 days of social distancing, I recognized a profound change. Little gifts appeared daily. Here are some silver linings I have discovered:
- Gratitude for the Moment
Death is inevitable. To die alone is terrifying. Is a stealthy virus hiding in the smiling faces of people you know? Yikes! My parents and significant other are vulnerable. Will our next kiss kill my boyfriend? I fear for what tomorrow brings; yet, here we are, safe in this moment. I am healthy and my important people are safe and healthy, too. I am thankful.
- Change = Opportunity
Opportunities to change can only happen where we make the space for it. For months I’ve struggled to add some healthier habits into my daily life, yet I was entrenched in a rut reinforced by decades of indifference. Suddenly my old routine is irrelevant. Everything is new, and adding in a positive change is just as easy as trying to retrofit a bad habit.
- Family doesn’t just happen.
Family relationships are under the spotlight. I wanted to believe being at home with my children would bring us closer together, but it did not. Time was not keeping us apart, it was effort. My children are introverts, so their natural routine includes more alone time. Having time available did not mean they were ready to jump out of their rooms and play Scrabble with me. I needed to make the move for us to connect. My effort is the key.
- Everyone in our community is ‘Essential’.
Introverts often exercise the “I don’t need anyone” option. Now I have a better view of our “interconnectedness.” Medical professionals are taking huge risks to help others live. Closed restaurants are feeding the unemployed and teenagers are bringing groceries to their elderly neighbors. From the delivery driver to the warehouse worker to the people who make toilet paper, every person is important and their contributions are all essential to our community.
- Time is a measurement, not an authority figure.
Last month, my life was dictated by the clock. It’s time to wake up, time to go to work, time to make dinner. In the New Normal, time no longer wardens me. I can still have a schedule, but now it’s based on “what” I need to do and not “when” it needs to be done. I wake when I’m rested, work when inspired, and eat when hungry (or when my children “remind” me for the third time!) Adjusting my schedule to my natural energy levels has made me much more productive.
- United, we are strong.
Nothing unites us like a common enemy. Covid-19 has no political preference, nor is it partial to any one nation. It is the disease versus all humanity. We are all in this together, and we must join together to survive.
- I really do like people.
There, I said it. Introverts do have friends and after 30 days apart, I miss being with them. Not just communicating, but actually experiencing them. I miss their energy, warmth and touch. I have a deeper appreciation for all my relationships.
Coronavirus did not bring these gifts into my life, they always existed. The pandemic pushed me to open my eyes to find my way along this new path and as a result I can see all that is before me. Sometimes fear narrows our focus so that we only see the tragedy. But the light is always there. When we can bring all into perspective, our suffering will ease ever so slightly, and our happiness will be that much more precious.
May you and your loved ones be as healthy as possible, and may you be open to the many gifts hidden in this struggle.
Lisa Ladomer, A Founding Treehugger at Sacred Treehouse
She put the Sacred in Sacred Treehouse and still does!
Lisa Ladomer has been Dr. Shutt’s right hand during the creation of the Sacred Treehouse and has guided her through the many changes and challenges over the past 11 years. Lisa is a small business strategist who specializes in operating strategies, accounting, technology integration, budgeting, communication, and streamlining business operations. In 2013 she joined Therapeutic Oasis of the Palm Beaches, where she currently serves as the Practice Manager. Lisa earned her Bachelor’s degree in Professional Accounting from the University of Michigan and studied Public Communication at Florida Atlantic University. She is also a founding board member for HEArt (Healing Through Expressive Arts).
When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her three children and hitting the pickleball court. A self-proclaimed cat aficionado, she can be found snuggling with her Nebelung cat.