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Gratitude, Reflection and Progress
Are you running on empty?
You’ve just done your 5th load of laundry and opened the last bag of your kid’s favorite snack when you realize you are at the bottom of your prescription bottle. As you gear up to stand 6 feet away from people at the grocery store and drive through the pharmacy window, you stop to marvel at the place we have all arrived.
We are separate, together. And together in our separateness. In a way that few of us dreamed possible as little as a few weeks ago.
As we parent our children while working from home and without many of our usual mental breaks – a trip to the gym or fitness class, happy hour with the ladies, or our in-person, center-based therapies, we are learning to navigate the new now.
As the news pulses through all forms of media, and as the memes and viral posts fill your feed there is just one thing that can help you combat all of this: gratitude.
Gratitude: Count Your Blessings
I am grateful that I am quarantined with my family, whom I love immensely.
I am grateful that at this time, my aging mother has been isolated from others and is safe.
I am grateful that we are able to work remotely and be paid for our work.
I am grateful that we have the time and space – and an increasing amount of knowledge – to support in providing remote therapy and distance learning to our two kids.
And most of all, I am grateful that the world is evolving to creatively find ways to provide joy, connection and social interaction without physical contact.
This state of quarantine is simultaneously fueling a back-to-basics ethos as well as quantum leaps in closing technology gaps.
Reflection: Back to Basics
Almost overnight, our families became unscheduled. There is little need for alarm clocks – or in fact timers of any sort. There are almost no transitions in this at-home-all-the-time life.
Our meals have become overwhelmingly home-cooked, and thus less-processed (though we are certainly sprinkling in some local contactless takeout meals in an effort to support small businesses).
And I was already baking bread – but doesn’t it seem like the whole world is now as well?
Our activities are simple – reading, writing, walking – and, of course, family game nights.
And the individuals who I thank routinely – through plexiglass shields and out my car window – are doing the most essential of work; healthcare workers, plumbers, electricians, farmers and grocers, and delivery people are all risking their own health to help us stay safe at home.
Progress: Acceleration of Technology
But we are also connecting at an unprecedented level. As the vocabulary shifts from the less-apt “social distancing” to the more correct “physical distancing,” the surges in technology propel us toward a more interconnected, digital future.
We are using dozens of technology tools to connect – and reconnect – with family and friends, teach and learn, and access therapy.
And, at least in California, we are taking admirable steps toward closing the digital divide, especially for our youth. Families living in rural areas are being provided with technology at a level that would have been unfathomable until our “new now”.
We are using video conferencing to do dozens if not hundreds of things that were unthinkable a few months ago: piano lessons, happy hours, cooking class, yoga workshops, support groups.
So have a Zoom happy hour or brunch, do a YouTube fitness class, or give yourself an at-home manicure.
And focus on what we are gaining: prioritizing gratitude, time for reflection, and a refreshed perspective on what it is that matters most.
Now What? How to Shelter in Place with Autism
The New Now: 5 Reasons You Should Try Telehealth