Did anyone else do the math on the money spent on gas, wear and tear of vehicles, parking fees, lunches out, and dry cleaning prior to this situation? How about the amount spent on the business formal wear, regional rail passes, time in traffic to and from because 99.8% of us have the same office hours? If you haven’t been, the planet has. This is evidenced by the amount of healing that nature is doing in just this short period of time.
For me personally, the above doesn’t amount to as much as for others because I’ve lived 2 miles from my employment for the past 16 years…and now not even a half-mile. Yet I am in no way a stranger to 5 pm traffic when I’m leaving work attempting to get to my horses 11 miles away.
Turns out there was an increase in productivity with most companies, and now the majority of the companines that can, are moving their workforce remote. There are pros and cons of course, but in the year 2020 this should be a viable option for any desk job that requires internet.
Suggestion: Opt to do both if you can. There is something to be said about working along with your team at scheduled times, it’s great for the psyche and creativity…unless you hate your co-workers, in which case I’m sorry.
I wouldn’t say that I am the type to need a take-out coffee daily, although I do pop in to coffee shops for a to-go from time to time. The last time I did so, my latte was $9.00. I remember a time drinking cocktails that cost the same. I’d rather pay for the cocktail if I’m being honest…
As such, I learned how to make my own iced latte. While I’m still working out the milk to coffee ratio, I can’t see myself spending $3-$9 on one again. Instead, I’m going to save going to the most exquisite coffee house that you have ever seen, just minutes from me, with a friend or colleague whom I love, and sip decadently as if there were no such thing as time. That is money and time well spent.
Suggestion: Nowadays, the options of gadgets and flavored syrups for a good DIY are endless, it’s the reason why God gave us Marshalls Homegoods.
Transportation & the Lack of Errands
Going from 1 tank of gas per week to 1 every 2.5 – 3 weeks is nice. I don’t count it as household savings though as with everyone home…all the time…the grocery budget near doubled. But it had me evaluate what I really deem necessary in terms of driving. Now that I walk to work daily, I aim to keep my gas consumption and wear and tear down indefinitely. I’ve gone back to my grocery routine, (with some updates that I’ll post about soon), and make sure that my essential trips are grouped together while eliminating what I can entirely.
Now, when I’m in the car it’s usually to get to the horses, or take Dylan to the pool. My stress levels are way down because my trips are more of a liesurely drive in my Caddy rather than an endless loop of many stores and stops.
Suggestion: Can we bring back the old fashioned car pool? Can Delaware come up to par in the public transportation arena (Chicago style of course)? What if a bunch of moms/friends got together – sans kids – and did all of their errands together? What would that playlist look like? (If you’re rolling with me, I stay in 90’s-2000’s Hip Hop. Because #GenX)
Adaptability & Routines
My mother used to tell me growing up that I can’t handle change. She explained that it used to take me half of the school year to get used to being in school. Turns out that if that were ever true, it isn’t any longer. As for this particular swift kick in the routine, I’ve found myself to be highly adaptable to change.
When we were told at 8:30 am one morning to pack up our work and be out of the building within the hour, I did. I printed my case list, looked at my priorities for the next two weeks, forwarded my office phone to my cell, boxed up my files and any supplies that I needed and went home and logged back in. Three months later, I would be in a totally new law firm with a totally different routine and objective. Routines are meant to evolve and change a bit – I just pay attention to the core importants: rest, family time, self-care, work ambitions, horses and just get it in where it fits in.
For all of the rest of the life stuff that I don’t have control over, like pandemics and being in my 40’s, I’ve learned to let go. No sense in getting dragged behind the carriage…just let go. And that’s on adaption.
Suggestion: Reorganize, and also let go.
Living in a pandemic world, we’re lucky that we are at the point where stores have opened up. The month of April was just creepy. However I noticed that most establishments now close at 7 or 8, and they open later than before. This gives them time to clean and stock and now going into stores is actually pleasant. Carts are wiped down after use and employees seem to be more open to conversation and have time to get things done. Somehow everyone still seems to be able to get their toilet paper and have re-arranged their routine to fit store hours. I’m not sure that we even need to go back to Target being open until 11 p.m.
I feel like more people enjoy being home than before – I know that my house has gotten some attention in the paint and decor department, and I would rather be home relaxing at 8 pm then browsing beauty deals at Ulta. Yet somehow I still have purchased more make-up during the past 2 months than I have in a year…
In my line of work if you are not a people person you’re out of luck. I have clients to keep happy, lawyers & a team to keep informed, and I have to negotiate all of the time for lots of things. My most successful negotiation during quarantine was with another person who was talking while he and his kids baked cookies. I’ve heard babies cry and dogs bark during business calls and we stop and talk as two professional humans in the same boat about family and work. We end up seeing ourselves on the same level instead of opposites.
I’ve been more candid in my professional life through all of this because it brought out my realness. It’s too much energy through all of this to have a “work face” and a “rest of life face”. When I am authentic, the other party gets to be as well and the next thing you know, we are both closing the deal with elevated levels of respect for one another. While it’s great for professional goals, it’s even better for future business because we’re that much more of colleagues building a working relationship.
Suggestion: Keep business authentic.
Working from home, Dylan would have to occupy himself playing in his room for a few hours at a time. To offset this, I would often log out, take my phone with me and he and I head to the large park down the street. I was never without wonder when getting there…families riding their bikes together at 2 pm on a Tuesday. People sitting on the large rocks out in the river with headphones in, their tea in a Yeti writing in journals just contimplating, perhaps finally working on that novel. Tons of people walking their dogs, people sitting on benches having their business calls – I myself would take a few while walking to where the ducks sit with birdseed in our pockets. While the roads were barren, the city parks were flourishing with residents rediscovering their backyards and nature.
With more people now navigating their own personal new normal, I can still attest to the fact that the parks remain fully utilized so the routine seems to be in place. People are slowing down and taking a good look at what they see. Somethings are jarring, and some are lovely, but they are all part of the larger picture and you really can’t have one without the other. I see the change, the coming together as families as friends and it makes my heart very happy.
Suggestion: You’re doing great, keep that shit up.
Ok, so things are different, and also weird – it’s ok to acknowledge that. When you think about it though, we were given a chance to really re-evaluate EVERYTHING. If you are just now getting to that point, welcome to the ride. I came to so many personal conclusions about my life that I can fill a book, and probably will. Things like marriage came under the microscope with all of that quiet and forced stillness. My health, where I am going and how I was going about getting there. Lessons upon lessons and not going to lie, some were painful. Yet when I sit back and think about January to current date 2020, if it had not happened the way that it did, I would have missed so much because I wouldn’t have been paying as close attention as I was.
The future is going to be bright for all of us, love has won no matter how scary it looks right now. Maybe it was the forced isolation, or not being able to crowd our time with errands and appointments so that we couldn’t think…whatever it was we are all awake now and coming together….and that’s just ment to be.
What are your thoughts and ideas?