Restocking Our Lives
Photo by Richard Burlton on Unsplash

Over the coming weeks and months as our world begins to return to its much-maligned hustle and bustle, we are going to receive a gift. This gift will affect the rest of our lives depending on how we put it to use.

This is a gift of restocking.

Say you’ve had a blow-out sale and sold all your merchandise. Nothing is left, the shelves are bare. Now it’s time to restock the shop, to reorder supplies that will be popular sellers going forward. What you restock and ultimately sell (use, if you’re grasping the analogy here) will shape the happiness of your future.

After we’ve cleared ourselves of all we thought was important in our lives:  bodies worked out only at a gym with a personal trainer, gel nails, perfectly coiffed hair, botox for a more appealing face, the “right” clothes and jewelry, cars, and homes, plus expensive vacations needed because of our high-powered, stressful jobs, and bragging rights about those jobs, awards, and accomplishments, we’re left with what we really needed to survive. Turns out that’s a lot less stuff. Yesterday, I broke my large glass salad bowl as I was putting it away. On my way to Amazon to purchase a replacement, I paused, “Do I really need this bowl that is nice, but takes up a ton of room in my tiny kitchen?” I’m going to live without it and use something else and see if that suffice.

Hopefully, we’ve learned that gray roots, or slightly more creased foreheads don’t mean you can’t get the brass ring of happiness. In addition, bodies can be worked out sufficiently for us older adults with COVID-approved neighborhood walks, going up and down stairs, plus lifting water jugs or soup cans for strength training. We’ve learned there’s a ton of entertainment on the internet that we can view by ourselves or with other shelter-in-place partners and family. And this is just a start of what is available to help us stay well and be happy.

Also looking hard at how to repopulate her COVID-19-simplified life, my friend, Debbie Butterfield, wrote in her latest newsletter, she’s “being mindful of how I fill the void.”  Debbie, who owns and operates Exultation Arts,  is shifting from social media connections to the phone, yes, the actual phone where you speak in person to another person. Regarding her business she says, “What’s come to me so far is to relax into the openness of far fewer commitments and experiment with some ideas I’ve had for artwork for quite a while.” She has used this time to think outside the box – to turn her Barnum and Bailey into a Cirque de Soleil. She might not have grown in this way without using these days to think about restocking her life differently.

There is an article floating around on social media that talks about how, as the country begins to make plans to move forward, there will be outside forces that encourage us to rush ahead to fill a void created by all this staying at home, with no fun, no interaction, no jetting about. We’ll be encouraged to get back to normal. But what is normal? We need to ask ourselves that.

We’ll all rush back to these things like stressful jobs and even crappy relationships because we so desperately want that “normal” feeling again. We retreat to that which we are used to, that which we’ve grown accustomed to and know how to exist within, even if it’s not the best for us.

Before we are so quick to rejoin our previous lives, let’s take a few moments to figure out what we need – what we really need – to be happy. Then restock our lives with that stuff.

It’s not too soon to begin thinking and planning.