I always considered myself well-suited for the “hustle and bustle” of modern America. My Pre-COVID life consisted of running from one errand to another, then to lunch, work, studying, and any number of other activities until finally winding things down as I crawled into bed.

It wasn’t until the forced slamming of the brakes that is quarantine life that I realized that maybe this was just a lifestyle had fallen into rather than a routine that truly resonated with who I am. Once I was compelled to stay at home, to cook and eat in, not see friends, not able to run to the Galleria or to Highland Village or to Rice Village, did I realize that “Hey, this feels good!” Unlike what I’ve read on social media from most others, I did not miss dining in restaurants, going to the gym, or as some of my friends on Facebook have said, even traffic. No! I will never miss the interminable quagmire of Houston traffic.

Since things have opened up, I have not had a desire to go out to dinner. I have not felt a desire to go shopping, nor have I had any interest in embarking on my bi-monthly Target run to stack up on paper goods.

Yes, I miss my friends, and in the last few weeks I have been meeting with those willing to join me on runs, long walks, or just relaxing in the park. The time I have spent with cherished friends feels very authentic and low-key, even as we perspire in the hot Houston sun.

I find these rather intense feelings about this new lifestyle curious and worthy of exploring further. Rather than judging or labeling, I’ve spent some reflective time asking myself what is it that feeds my soul. What causes me to relax rather than feel rushed? What’s behind the need for constant errands or a long to-do list? In truth, the answer to the last question really doesn’t matter to me. What matters is that I remain authentic and that what I choose to do helps me feel in touch with who I really am. With that in mind, I plan to honor my quieter lifestyle. When I think of something I think I “need” to do, I ask myself if it truly is a need or, as my Cajun french parents used to a say, a tracas  (Pronounced “TRAH KAH”), meaning a superfluous obsession or worry.

I urge each of you to ask yourselves how these extraordinary few months have affected you, whether positively, negatively, or somewhere in between. What discoveries have you made about yourself or your lifestyle? What changes would make sense for you going forward? Allow this time to serve as a period of reflection and opportunity for growth.

Of course, I’ll be thrilled when there is a vaccine and we can all go about our normal business without a mask. However, I am confident that my “normal business” will not look the same as it did just a few months ago.

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