Finding The Silver Lining

Regardless of where you are right now, this global pandemic has irrevocably changed all of our lives while having an effect on us in some really different and similar ways. We're all grappling with individual uncertainties. One of the things that's keeping me sane is being purposeful and grateful and I'm doing this by acknowledging my good fortune and appreciating all the positive things in my life regularly.

Being More Appreciative
If this time is teaching me anything, I've gained a new perspective on my life and am learning that being grateful and appreciating everything is the best practice.  Life is not perfect but I'm in a much better place than many people in having a roof over my head, food and am not going through any financial hardship. My priorities become clearer in wanting to continue to live better with less, consume and waste less and being able to stay prepared for unprecedented uncertainties as well as be financially secure. We're also trying to work out ways that we can give back.

My Health
Immense pain, was followed by an immense relief after I was able to diagnose the issue with the pinched nerve in my neck. I've been taking it easy and slowly working my way back. I still have good days and bad days but I'm in a much better place than I was a few weeks ago.  As long as I'm diligently doing my PT exercises, I can keep it in check. Just laying out on my foam roller a few times a day has made a big difference. Even after this and what I suspect to be a mild form of COVID-19 that my husband and I both were affected by, I still consider myself to be extremely lucky that I'm hear and still doing much better than most.

My Husband
If I had to be quarantined with anyone, I'm very thankful it's my husband. He has this way of keeping me calm, being supportive and making me laugh. Just being with him makes every situation better. I really admire his ability to focus his emotional investment and not expend energy on what is beyond his control which is something I sometimes have to struggle to keep in check. I also appreciate his clearheadedness, kindness and unrelenting ability to think strategically even under stress. I'm not going to lie, we've had a few disagreements during this period but we've been able to work through them and have come out closer.

During this time, I've had a chance to reconnect with friends and acquaintances some of whom of I hadn't talked to in years. I'm not talking about superficial social media discourses in passing but actual conversations online, through chats, emails and even on the phone. This kind of support and connection has been nurturing and reassures me of the power of humanity and compassion.

Slowing Down
Before all this I felt obligated  to always try to keep busy and occupy my time with something. Since being quarantine, I'm learning to slow down again. Being incapacitated for awhile probably propelled that but I'm enjoying a slower pace in general. I had all these home projects lined up and have done exactly 2 and I'm not even stressing out about it. They will get done eventually. I'm generally unplugged. I feel no pressure to post to social media and blog when I feel up to it.  I'm also  redirecting my attention only to things that genuinely interest or have value to me. The ability to mute on social media is the best. I've noticed that this pandemic has reduced some people to desperate attention seeking behavior and it's sad that they don't have enough personal fulfillment that they need to post about every little thing they're doing. Putting less emphasis on my physical appearance has been liberating. I'm just focusing on overall wellness, eating right, prioritizing sleep and moving my body as much as possible. I have not taken up drinking or eating sugar. I can't remember the last time I put on makeup and I don't miss it at all. I don't see the point when I'm at home and when I go out I wear a mask. Skincare remains a priority and I do wear SPF with blue light protection daily. If you're not already doing this I'd advise it because most of us are probably in front of our phone or computer screens a lot more now.

Sakura, Cherry Blossoms in bloom

Rediscovering Creativity
This time has afforded me a chance to get back to hand lettering which I had taken up last year. My practice fell off and since I've been doing it again, I'm reminded of how much I enjoyed it. There's something very relaxing to it. I'm also taking photos for myself again and doing studies like this cherry blossom photo as well as some other personal projects dealing with light and shadow.

Finally Doing Things I've Been Putting Off
I have wanted to grow my own herbs and vegetables for the longest time and now is as good a time as any to do it. I've started with scallion and garlic scapes which I've grown before and I'm gearing up to grow cilantro and basil both of which I use very frequently in my cooking. I might have a slight obsession with cilantro lime rice. Chives and lettuce also interest me. I've finally started the daunting project of editing and cataloging a huge backlog of photos. I don't feel any pressure to rush through it and am going about it at my own pace.

Being Challenged
If being in this situation has taught me anything, it is that challenges make us stronger. I'm definitely better for having worked through my health issues on my own. The situation has brought out my anxiety and at times I find myself contemplating and being overwhelmed by the helplessness the situation but slowly I'm been learning to refocus my energy and let go of that which I can't control and just roll with things as they come. My tendency to keep a well stocked pantry, medicine chest and  home has really come into play recently and I feel justified. I have been buying toilet paper in 12 packs for years so I don't have to think about it for awhile. I just happened to restock at the beginning of last month so we're still good. I'll worry about where to get more when we're down to a few rolls.

Appreciating Where I Live
Before all this I already enjoyed being at home than going out. We're very fortunate to to live in an apartment complex with 24 hour security and on-site porters who maintain the property. Our management company proactively enacted safety measures which are updated as needed. Even though we don't live in a palatial house, our apartment is spacious by NYC standards and we have our own outdoor space which we now enjoy daily. We have a drugstore and pizzeria downstairs and as far as our neighborhood even with many places closed, there are some key places still open.  I've always enjoyed the vitality of the downtown area and considered living near Chinatown a blessing when it comes to food since I'm able to get fresh fruits and vegetables at very reasonable prices. I'm grateful to still able to do that now. And they wear proper PPE at the Chinese markets. We've also been able to get groceries delivered a few times. I've been cooking for the most part and am trying to expand my repertoire and skills with some new recipes but when I don't feel like it we have some good delivery options, even for sushi.

Whatever happens in the future, this time of upheaval will no doubt change us as we move forward. I personally think that we should not be thinking about going back to normal as much as a new normal with the knowledge of what we are going through now since it's been revealed that normal didn't work and we can all do better for a better future.


Kinga K. said...

Pretty flowers:)

R's Rue said...

A silver lining indeed.

Doctor Anne said...

I agree, our old normal needs to be challenged. Now is the perfect time to see what actually is worth going back to and what isn´t.

stylefrontier said...

totally love this post! it's really time to rediscover ourselves

style frontier

Pilar said...

Beautifully written post Rowena. I think this pandemic makes us self reflect and even rediscover.

ALLIE NYC said...

Yes indeed you have much to be grateful for. There is just so much suffering and hardship in the world and now so much more it can be hard to grasp. Yes social media ugh, you know how I feel about that. IG banned me for a week. They said I used an app to get likes which i did not. But I did use one to track who unfollowed me b/c of the whole follow/unfollow trick. That was about 2 years ago and I stopped using it as it did not work with my new phone. I changed my PW about 3 times since then, mainly b/c I keep forgetting it. But also when they instructed everyone to do so.

But at any rate that is what they claim. And you know what? I could give a rats ass. It is a relief not to have to be on it. I HATE IG and have hated FB for a good 7 years now and have come close to deleting it many times until I realized it does not matter, they keep all your info. I do not like its founder either. So not a fan of IG. Honestly if I never use it again I could care less. In fact if I was not a so called influencer and just a spectator I would never be on it. But yes I know what you mean...ugh people posting what they are doing every minute of the day and then saying the same thing over and over when they run out of content lol. Seriously what is the point? I prefer blogs, and YT videos which are at least engaging and you can also learn things on there too. TT is entertaining. But FB...just yelling and complaining, and IG? All it is, is look at me! Or selling products...

Allie of

Lena L said...

Hi, Rowena! I hope you and your loved ones are well. Reading this though, I can tell that you're doing very well! All these healthy and positively constructive thoughts are very inspiring. I hope you continue to take good care of yourself and feel even better than before. <3

Emmylou said...

Oh my gosh! I can't remember as well the last time I put on makeup! So funny coz the first time my DD's voice teacher saw me on Zoom without makeup on, she was like, "What's wrong?" LOLZ...
And yes...amen to enjoying the little things in life, chingu:)
PS Have not been on IG and FB for a long time (like...years), but I remember the day I quit IG...someone actually posted a photo whilst in the washroom. Dude, I don't need to know what you do every minute.

Shireen L. Platt said...

You have so much to be thankful for and having a supportive and understanding spouse makes all the differences in life. I am grateful that I have this time to really bond with my little one. We've always been very close but me staying home has brought our closeness to another level.

Jo Rashi said...

So true dear.. this is the time to slow down and rediscover yourself... lovely post :-)

Eli Dou said...

I honestly haven't been able to slow down much, as I'm working a lot and I have another project going on. But I'm appreciating much more the smaller things.
Great post dear! Stay safe


Curly Style

Mica said...

While I'm not experiencing the slowing down part, as I'm trying to learn how to work from home and also help my 4 and 5 year old do their online learning at the same time, I am finding that we can have more relaxed days together when I'm not working. I'm still trying to entertain them and keep them busy and spending a lot of free time looking up ideas for games and activities and things, but it's nice to have that together time even if I'm missing our usual routines. They are starting to relax some restrictions as we have so few cases now so that will be good - I may be able to travel to see my family now!

Hope you are having a great week :)

Away From Blue

Jackie Harrison said...

I'm so in agreement with you hundred percent. This experience is an awakening to the global world how much we need to paid attention to things. We all have to be better prepared which clearly we weren't. This is our new norm we all have to face reality even though some don't. Is okay to lose yourself in focusing like nothing happen as long you do it with the reality knowing it is happening and this is how we living. Instagram I agree some put to much about themselves and not pause and think maybe I should communicate a positive message with my image in how we are all in it together not looking for only look at me. I hope this is a rude awakening to the world and become more compassion, loving and appreciated of everything we have family, friends. food,shelter. etc. Great post dear friend hope you and your hubby doing well and continue doing what makes you both happy. Stay Safe.

Ivana Split said...

I also feel like this quarantine has made my marriage stronger. My husband has been great help, I don't know how I would have managed without him. Sometimes hardships make us realize what really matters, like treasuring those people who are here for us and investing more time into meaningful interaction. Social media will never be substitute for real friendship and superficial social media engagement can never compare to meaningful conversations.

Ivana Split said...

What a well written post! I could agree with you more. We should be grateful for what we have and treasure it. I also feel like this quarantine has made my marriage stronger. My husband has been great help, I don't know how I would have managed without him. Sometimes hardships make us realize what really matters, like treasuring those people who are here for us and investing more time into meaningful interaction. Social media will never be substitute for real friendship and superficial social media engagement can never compare to meaningful conversations.


I agree. If anything, this whole ordeal has allowed me to take it slower, although I have always been grateful, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed so I took a long blog break. I've also been doing more Zoom videos with friends, other food bloggers and family and cooking together. It's so much fun!