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Lessons from Lockdown: rediscovering what really matters

Around the world, people have now spent weeks at home under lockdown due to social distancing regulations. Although it has been a tough time, it has also been a great time to reflect on what matters in life. Here are some of my conclusions. It seems appropriate to write them down since I want to remember them when the world returns, although I’m confident that the world we return to will be a different one than we left. 

I love my job

I never thought I’d hear myself saying this, but I miss my students every day.  I even miss the stinkers!  Maybe I miss them even more because I wonder how they are coping with all the stressors they are facing. I know that for some kids, school is a refuge and a home. They help give me a sense of purpose. So next time I have a challenging day of teaching, I need to remind myself how it feels not being able to see my school kiddos.

I am not ready to retire. 

There are times when I daydream about the day I can retire, imagining in these fantasies that I don’t actually physically age. But these few weeks off have reminded me that it’s just not my time right now. While I enjoy free time, I am not yet prepared to have every day to myself.  A snow day here and there is enough for me. 

I have taken my freedom for granted

Before this, I had never given thought to the extent to which I enjoy being able to do what I want, go where I want, whenever I want. 

Having the flexibility to travel where I want has always been a given

I mean, I want to go to the tanner, get a haircut, and go stay at a hotel for spring break, but these are luxuries now that I am not permitted to have.  And now that I have been told that I simply don’t have a choice, I feel like a child who doesn’t want to listen to her parents.  I want to have the liberty to make my life choices without force. 

Social distancing is hard

Let’s be honest, social distancing rules and face touching guidelines are hard to follow. Especially if, like me, you are a people person. Telling me to stay away from other humans is hard. I like to hug my kids. I enjoy being close to people that I care about.   

Sleep makes me a kinder human. 

So, I’m a night owl by nature, but in order to get my workout in before I leave for school, I have to also get up early. This means I rarely get the recommended amount of sleep each night.  And I run on little sleep most of the week and sometimes get to sleep in or take a nap on Saturdays.

So it’s no surprise that by the time I get home from work some days, I have little patience for my own family. But after several days of getting additional sleep, I can tell that little annoyances aren’t causing me much grief. I can laugh and smile more.  And I think when we are all more rested, we treat each other better. So, I plan to bank as much sleep as possible now while I can.

We rely on one another

This pandemic has made me much more aware of how much we all rely on each other, and I greatly appreciate every worker and position, from the drive-thru servers and people sanitizing carts at the grocery to the nurses and doctors who are tirelessly working to save others. Sometimes it takes a crisis like this to realize how much we rely on one another. 

These past few weeks have been so unexpected, and the unchartered territory can feel downright alarming. And while I dislike not having an idea of what the next few weeks will bring, I am a teacher, and lifelong learner, so whatever happens, I hope to apply it to future situations. 

I want to learn and grow so that I can improve and be more prepared for whatever life has in store for me around the next bend.

I’d love to hear from you on IG @fitmodelmom or @fmm_the wolf.  And don’t forget to check out my newly updated website

This article originally appeared here in the Astonishing Tales digital magazine.

Michelle Nowotny-Hoerlein
I am a physical education teacher, model, and mom to three busy children. My family stays active and busy by participating in lots of sports and extracurricular activities. My hobbies include working out, jogging, beach volleyball, and reading.

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