Changing my priorities resulted in the five lessons I learned during the pandemic.
The lessons I learned during the pandemic changed my quality of life.

I was a creature of the “rat race” in 2019 when Uncle Sam forced everyone to slow down. I learned five lessons from the pandemic that helped improve my quality of living.

Although most people didn’t consider the ISP industry to be “front line,” we indeed were. One day people were going to the office, and the next, working from home. Suddenly everyone needed bandwidth to take classes. Every business started online ordering.

My Super Stars.

The telecommunications industry went into crisis mode, and most people didn’t even notice. Our technicians, I work for an ISP, were out in the community on the frontlines installing new services and upgrading services as fast as possible to keep America connected.

The technicians I work with logged 15 and 16-hour days trying to make the worst infrastructure from the 1960s and 70s work with the technology of 2019. Amazingly, in most instances, they did it.

I spoke with a lot of angry people. Many didn’t understand the challenge of providing fast internet in rural communities. Others blamed our industry for the poor speeds assuming that we chose profits over upgrading cabling for decades. They didn’t understand the politics of providing faster internet in cities that preferred to spend money on other priorities. After all, we put in fiber cables. We don’t build roads or repair roads after the wire runs. We put bandaids on a crumbling infrastructure to provide service for everyone.

The Social Media Trap in the Pandemic

We can argue whether America is past the pandemic, but we probably all realize this event fundamentally changed us.

I believe I had Covid-19 even before we knew about the virus. I was very sick in December 2019 before they started talking about the virus. But this was before we could test for the pandemic virus.

social media followers should not be a measurement of your success

I live alone. In regular times this might seem like a blessing to those who never get a minute to themselves. But during the pandemic, quarantine was isolating and lonely. Working from home provided some social interaction. I spent some time on social media until it became too toxic. Facebook, Twitter, and copycat products encourage people to voice their opinions openly. Some days it seemed like all people could do was complain. Social media doesn’t teach people to read or listen. I think that is the biggest problem with social media; everyone is talking, but no one is listening anymore. People lose their humanity in cyberspace and say horrible things to people they barely know.

Over a few weeks, I quietly unfriended many acquaintances who only knew me during the snapshot of high school or my job. They are the illusion of friends but not genuine relationships. Those are people compelled to opine relentlessly on economics, politics, money, food, and religion, topics they neither practice nor understand.

Five Lessons that I Learned During the Pandemic.

Reconnecting with people during the pandemic, albeit in a small group for a potluck or a grilled dinner, was rewarding.
  1. Invest in People, not contacts.
    If you know me, you don’t need Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to keep you updated about my life. Counting your followers on social media is a waste of time. Instead, consider how many people you can call at 3 am. I spent my “quarantine” reconnecting with the people who mattered most to me. My family began enjoying Sunday dinner together every week. I met my neighbors again. The pace of my life slowed down, and I noticed I smiled more. Building relationships improved the quality of my life, and I am still practicing growing those friendships.
  2. Grow Things.
    Learn to enjoy the garden. My orchids don’t need much attention, and they reward me with big, colorful blooms each season. While we were all spending time at home, I planted a vegetable garden and successfully grew lettuce, peppers, and tomatoes. The yield filled baskets with fresh vegetables and taught me that homegrown is always better tasting and seriously requires little effort.
  3. Laugh Every Day.
    My Mom used to say, “life is too short to be so serious.” I agree. I’d add, “laughter is the best medicine.” Enjoying tea or cocktails with friends often was my only contact during the week. We played cards, planned simple pot luck dinners, and observed the local wildlife [feral cats]. Laughter is so much easier on the soul.

    I read a lot of Erma Bombeck, Nora Ephron, Bill Cosby, Bob Newhart, and other writers in my younger years. Has anyone else noticed that nothing is funny anymore? Sitcoms, the staples for the 70s, 80s, and 90s television no longer exist. I still love old episodes of “Golden Girls.” But comedy during the pandemic is mean-spirited. Legacy comedy was funny because we could easily relate to it. The last comedy special I viewed on Netflix poked fun at people, not their actions. I miss Jerry Seinfeld, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, and even Jeff Foxworthy’s humor.
  4. Fresh Flowers are Always a Good Thing.
    I typically spent all my entertainment money on restaurants, concerts, movies, or theaters. I spent my entertainment budget each week on a vase of fresh flowers. One week I’d order a big bouquet of multi-colored roses, and the next, it would be a variety of all-white flowers. Fresh flowers reminded me that I’m valuable and worth the cost. I smiled every time I looked at the bouquet. I still splurge on this gift every week even though we are going out in public again. One of the most admirable lessons I learned during the pandemic is to value myself first!
  5. People May Fail You, but Books and Music Never Will.
    I was an English literature major in college. Naturally, I read a lot of books. I took piano lessons from age 5. My Mom felt I’d always have a friend in my piano, and she was right. The very best of the lessons I learned during the pandemic was to take the time to read and play piano just for myself. In your case, the skill might be painting, yoga, or crafting activities. The lesson here is to make time for yourself. We don’t do that much in this crazy world, but we should.

My adventures in this blog are really about self-discovery and learning to love my home, my world, and myself. If I’m lucky, you find a little of that self-indulgent reward in your environment.

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