Can you ever get credit for averting a disaster?

avoiding disasterYou never get credit for averting a disaster, only for mounting a rescue operation once it’s in motion. At least that’s my experience from decades working in and around software development.

I’ve seen the debate play out time and time again: How much time and effort do you invest upfront in planning, analysis, quality assurance, risk mitigation? How much is enough? How much is too much? What’s the cost of averting a problem versus fixing the problem after implementation? We all know it costs more to fix it after Go Live, but was it worth the cost of avoiding, if the problem never materializes?

This is similar to the debate we are having across the world today. What is the cost of averting a catastrophic surge on our medical resources? How much of our wealth are we willing to give up to save lives? Does it depend on the number of lives? We’re investing up front in “flattening the curve”, but will we believe that the costs were worth it when it’s all over?

If a software Go Live is a success, no alarms are raised, no high impact problem reports are sent up the chain of command, no emergency meetings are called, or ‘business continuity plans’ activated. There’s a celebration cake, some nice words of thanks to the dedicated team, some photos taken and everyone moves on to the next project. It obviously wasn’t that complex or that challenging — there were no outside witnesses to the heroic work that went on behind the scenes.  The impact of the quality checks and testing on the final smooth implementation can get lost in the final assessment. Remember Y2K twenty years ago?

The projected COVID-19 deaths in the US are gradually dropping as we wrap up several weeks of Stay At Home orders across most of the nation. This is fantastic news! We achieved the objectives set forth by #flattenthecurve initiatives. This is the result of bold public officials making tough decisions — these are the unsung heroes.  And, I can already hear rumblings and second-guessings as to whether this was needed, precisely because the projections have dropped. Wait, don’t forget, that was the whole point. Questions are being asked as to whether the cost to the economy was worth it. This is sounding familiar.

If a software Go Live is a disaster, a hotshot SWAT team swoops in to the rescue. These saviors are treated like royalty — their heroic work is on display for all to see. Heroes are born that become legends of department lore. The unheard voices that had asked for more time to check, review, and test get buried or take the blame. Lessons learned are captured, After Action Reviews are conducted, and improvement task forces formed. We don’t want to repeat this ever again … until we do.

We’ve witnessed COVID-19 disasters in many places across the globe. There were many unheard voices trying to issue warnings and caution. Some were buried and some may be looked to for blame before it’s all over. New heroes have been born. We’re doing military style flyovers to honor our doctors, nurses and medical professionals. Infectious disease experts, scrounging for research funds, mostly hidden in their labs until this point, have found themselves on the international stage. They are getting fan mail … and some hate mail too, I”m sure. I hope they have their grants written so they can strike while the iron’s hot. We want to be better prepared next time … until we forget.

Reading about the 1918 Spanish flu has fascinated me the past few weeks. As with software projects, it would seem that we do repeat mistakes and we do forget. The German philosopher Friedrich Hegel seems to have got it right when he said  “The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.”

What will the future say about the decisions made and the resulting consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic? I’m sure we’ll already know a lot more in a year from now. However, wouldn’t you love to come back in 100 years to find out what history will write about the year 2020?


Day of the Worker in Texas

INternational Workers Day-1Having enjoyed many May 1st’s outside the US as a day off work or school in honor of the International Worker’s Day, it’s always on my mind, when the calendar flips over to May. The US has designated a different day in September as Labor Day, however the origins of this international holiday come from an event in the US in 1886, in Chicago.

On May 1, 1886 labor unions in the US decided to go on strike demanding an eight-hour workday. Just three days after the strike began, a blast occurred at a peaceful rally at the Haymarket in Chicago leaving several dead and injured. In 1889 the International Socialist Conference declared May 1st as a day to continue the campaign for the eight-hour workday. It became an annual event which has since morphed into a more watered down, generic “day off work” in much of the world (except Communist countries) and at different times of the year in a few countries, like the US.

Coincidentally, today it’s also cause for celebration by many workers here in Texas, who are starting to return to their jobs and sources of income. I know this comes with a sense of relief and also some worry. It’s not as simple as returning from a long vacation. The ground has shifted.

Will their companies be able to bounce back? Will their jobs be secure if there’s a recession? What will the impact of the oil price double-whammy be to their jobs in the Texas economy? Will they stay healthy? Do they have health insurance to cover what comes next? What if there’s another surge in cases followed by another lock down?  Can they survive a second wave? Financially? Health-wise? Emotionally?

Only time will tell. The train has left the station. Let’s see what happens.

Today’s daily reflection in a booklet I refer to every morning had this to share for May 1st.

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life” Luke: 12:25

Isn’t it magnificent how the right words can show up at just the right time.

Anyone need a COVID Vacay?

Weekend getawayMy most intense brush with disasters was the 2017 Harvey flood. Water filled our house and rocked our world. We were stuck in the upstairs of our house for a couple of days and part of that was without power, but we felt bizarrely upbeat about things. In retrospect, I’m sure we were just in shock.

For the next four months, we turned all our energies and attention to the task of fixing the problem. It was obvious what the problem was. A peek in the downstairs of our house served as a ready reminder in case we lost sight of what we were doing! Even though it was our first time down this road, there was ample experience and expertise out there to guide us.

At the end of the day, it was just another project. Plan the plan, then work the plan and you’ll get there.

When we couldn’t stand the inconveniences of the camping-style living upstairs any longer, or the daily grind of decision-making, or the chaotic multi-contractor scheduling, we could escape. We could take a break from it.

We could go out for dinner and eat with real cutlery and real plates on real dining tables at noisy restaurants and pretend life was normal. We could go visit friends and talk about their non-flooded lives, as if we belonged to that group too. We could spend Thanksgiving and Christmas in the homes of our extended families, decorated for the holidays, where we could lose ourselves in a world that wasn’t interrupted by a flood.

The escape to an alternate reality made it bearable. It offered a relief valve. A few hours of pretending things were different was food for the soul.

Today, I’m in need of some COVID-19 relief. I’d love a brief getaway, an escape.

Not in another “check-in” Zoom call. Not in another Netflix show. Not on another walk. Not in another Facebook Live exercise class. Not in another meditation session. Not on another phone call with a dear friend. Not at another pseudo happy hour online. And certainly not in another furtive trip to the Blue Bell container in the freezer. 

It’s a dissatisfaction that feels like an unscratchable itch. Like when you were bored as a kid and all the suggestions your mom made sounded terrible.

Some days I’m up for living in this time warp. And other days, I just want a weekend getaway to a place where nobody has heard about, or cares about COVID-19. Also … where any thoughts of pandemics are erased from our brains … the thoughts are wiped out instantaneously with the first sip of an exquisite top-shelf G&T!

Just the thought of this is perking me up again 🙂




Mask Coming Out Day

Masks - 4Today was my official coming out day. It’s the day I’m marking in the calendar as “Started wearing mask in public“. I finally finished my hand-crafted creations. They do have a pouch for a filter, but are otherwise quite unremarkable. My housemates have been mostly polite about them, excepting a few comments about being uneven, or baggy, or weird smelling. I know these are not in their longer-term wardrobe plans — I’ve seen their orders for more colorful alternatives in our Amazon account.

Much about the future is unclear, but one thing I’m pretty sure of, is that masks are here to stay for a while. Regardless of the recommendations, requirements or regulations where you live, or what your personal stance is on these, they have arrived.

Fashion, culture and profit is going to make sure we buy more than we need and perhaps even keep wearing them longer. As we start venturing out into public and shedding our sweat-pant-pajama-workout-shorts rotation we might want a sporty one for outdoorsy gatherings, a more chic model for dinner and the theater, more formal for church, more business-like for interviewing, and so on. Will they need to match shoes and purse, or belt, or earrings, or what about glasses frames. And of course, we’ll need some new organizer gizmo for the collection in our drawers. I see a new complexity to getting dressed penetrating a world I’m constantly trying to simplify! The materials, the colors, the designs could become the next frontier for designers. They might even add tassels, lace, sequence, or who knows what?

But before we leap to all this, I have some basic questions, like how the heck do you really breath in these things if you have a filter in them? I felt like I was recycling carbon dioxide in the grocery store this morning to the point where I might slump over in a faint on the egg cartons.

Then there’s the fogging up of the glasses challenge. It would seem that if you put a decent filter layer in the pouch (that took all that extra effort to make), the best way for air to enter and exit is through the top, passing by your glasses. They then fog up.

How on earth do I train myself to not touch my glasses that keep slipping down on top of the material now covering my nose; to not touch the itch from the elastic on my ear; to not touch the mask over my nose that seems to be covering the one nostril completely; how to not touch anything above my neck that is all itchy and uncomfortable? How?

I learned how to walk in high heels, wear pantyhose in the Houston heat and painfully heavy earrings when that was in fashion, so I’m sure I can master this mask. But I might need to upgrade my home-grown pioneer version for a Nieman Marcus deluxe model at some point, if Nieman’s doesn’t go out of business.

And then, practically speaking, how can I safely take it off and put it somewhere that isn’t going to contaminate some other surface? How frequently do we wash them, or reinsert a new filter? There appear to be varying opinions and there’s no definitive right or wrong answer. As somebody, who likes to know how to do it right, this is very frustrating.

For the time being, I’m going to have to live with answers like ‘You’ll get used to it’, ‘Just do the best you can.’ and ‘Some protection is better than none.’  I’m washing them in Zum patchouli laundry detergent this afternoon, so that should help a little.

See you out there with your mask on 🙂 Wave in case I don’t recognize you.

Were you afraid of getting sick?

Spanish Flu Epidemic 1918-1919 in America. TO PREVENT INFLUENZA, a Red Cross nurse is pictured withAll four of my grandparents lived through the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic in Minnesota and Michigan, but I never heard a peep about any of this until many years after they had passed. It never came up. I never asked any question that would have lead there. What kid asks a question like “Grandma, have you ever lived through a pandemic?” I’m sure I thought pandemics were a thing that died out with the bubonic plague in the middle ages, if I was even that aware.

My grandparents would have been in their early twenties / late teens during the time of the Spanish Flu, so surely would have been very aware. I read that in 1918, 125,000 cases of the flu were reported in Minnesota, causing 7,260 deaths. With a population of 2,291,000 in Minnesota in 1918, this would have been bigger news than COVID-19 today. A simple Google search turns up notices of closures and mask recommendations that look very similar to what we see today. Even with no internet or 24-hour news cycle, 5% of the population in Minnesota reporting a case of the flu would mean everyone most likely knew someone who got sick — and probably someone who died.

I could speculate that many significant and more dramatic events stacked up between their 1918 Spanish Flu experience and fifty years later when I was sitting around on a quiet summer vacation evening visiting with them on the farm. The financial crash in the 20’s that lead to the Great Depression in the 30s, followed by WWII in the 40s, then the Korean War, the Cold War and the polio outbreak in the 50s. All these would have pushed a pandemic they survived decades earlier to the bottom of the pile of memories.

If I could go back in time and ask them questions about 1918, I’d want to know if they were afraid of getting sick? Did they change their behaviors in any way? Were public gathering places closed in their town too? Did it fill the conversation with their friends, or did they have to stop seeing friends for a while? What was that like for them? Did they assume it would all be over soon?

If my grandchildren ask me if I was afraid during COVID-19, what will I say?

Am I afraid of getting sick? I think I would tell them that I’m afraid enough. Enough that I’m willing to withdraw significantly from human contact to create a safety shield around our household. I’m willing to comply with any recommendations that medical experts put forth to help protect me from others and others, in turn, from me, in case I’m infected and asymptomatic. Maybe it’s not fear as much as it is a commitment to doing what I can to stay well, and stay out of hospital. I’m willing to reign in some of my personal freedoms to buy some additional safety insurance. Just like I try to do with exercise and diet. There are no guarantees, but I’m not taking many chances.

I would tell them, that I’m actually more afraid of other things. I’m more fearful of the overall effect this is having on our social and economic structures. I’m fearful that we’re in for a longer roller coaster ride than most expect. And I worry that our impatience for instant results may hamper our ability to make steady progress. And that when we do arrive on the other side of this with a long-awaited vaccine, who will get access to that new vaccine – will I? How much will have changed by then, that will define a new world quite different from today — or should I say, from what we knew a couple of months ago. 

I don’t believe we will ever return to where we were before this virus. What will the new normal look like? Will I feel comfortable there? Can I thrive there? I heard Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel prize winning psychologist and economist, say in an interview recently that he expected the rest of his years to be confined to a life of “incarceration” because of the threat of this virus to his health. 

I’m more afraid of these uncertainties, than I am of getting sick. Whether I contract the virus or not appears to be more within my control than defining what our world will look like as we move beyond the immediate threat of this pandemic.

Today is the beginning of Week 7 of social isolation at our house. Some restrictions are being loosened in our city (e.g., opening of restaurants, movies, malls, churches) as others are being implemented to mitigate that risk (e.g., mask requirements, % occupancy restrictions, etc.).

Everyone is hoping for the best. Everyone is still hoping we’re getting back to ‘normal’. There is an eagerness to get on with it. I haven’t made any restaurant reservations, or bought any movie tickets yet. Still waiting to see what happens.

Frozen in Time

cobwebbed flowerI went to enter something on the May family calendar in the pantry and realized that I had not yet turned the page to April. This is a litmus test of activity in our house. The master household calendar, the director of traffic in our lives, the synchronizer of all family comings and goings has not been needed. I haven’t referred to, or written in it since March, which ended 26 days ago.

We’ve come to a standstill. Parts of our lives are like a deserted house in a Scooby-Doo cartoon, where rooms are laced with cobwebs, furnishings covered in dust, and items scattered on a banquet table as if the revelers vanished mid-dinning.

Much of the city is like that. Frozen in time. People left spaces expecting to return in a couple of weeks, and didn’t.

White erase boards in meeting rooms and classrooms still marked up with work in-progress. Desks and lockers containing items that wouldn’t have been left behind if the duration had been known. Theater stage sets ready for the next performance.

Display windows in a boutique nearby remain static – they didn’t win the “essential” designation. School electronic signs blink with outdated information. Cars sitting in driveways gather a thicker coat of pollen. The neighborhood library is closed again — after finally reopening following a long post-Hurricane Harvey restoration. Are returned books piling up in the return box, or not being returned at all?

Playgrounds are taped up like crime scenes. The school zone blinking lights still flash at the appointed hours of day for those out exercising and the occasional car passing by. The Spring fashion season has been skipped – glad I hadn’t bought anything.  Billboards once vibrant with concerts, sports events, and festival posters have nothing enticing to say.

I wonder what’s going on inside empty churches, movie theaters, sports stadiums, schools, offices, museums, gyms and theme parks? Is dust slowly covering over the inside surfaces. Have the cockroaches and mice moved in, or isn’t there enough for them to scrounge on, now that the humans have fled. What is happening in these dark, quiet caverns left untended? I’ve heard reports of frantic rodents in shut-down restaurant districts. Read this NBC News report, if you want the details. I’m not offering more here, as I personally wish I didn’t have that image in my head.

As we start cracking open some of these spaces, what will we find?


“Bummed” for the kids

Seniors 2020Today I’d like to introduce Caitlin Campbell, my future daughter-in-law, a high school Physics teacher in Houston. She has kindly agreed to share some of her experiences since schools moved classrooms into a virtual world and cancelled everything else that couldn’t be done virtually. Much gratitude and kudos to Caitlin for taking on this project while also taking good care of her many “kids” as she likes to call them. She shares a different side of what many 2020 Seniors are experiencing. Most of us reading this piece cannot imagine the impact of a canceled Senior year when you come from a different slice of life.

Read on to learn more …

“Bummed” for the kids  —  By Caitlin Campbell

Let’s start off with this: I am not a writer. I am a voracious reader which makes me all the more anxious and self-conscience about my writing because I know good writing and am judgmental of bad writing. But when Lynn Morstead asks for a guest blog you put your insecurities aside and deliver. Lynn is not the kind of lady you say no to. Besides, what a way to communicate my experience in this time as a virtual teacher and a little of my students’ perspective.

I was on a zoom meeting a couple weeks ago, and as our “do now” activity (classic teacher move) we were asked to enter one word describing how we were feeling at that moment. My immediate thought was “bummed.” The day before, we received the news that our physical school building would not be opening again this school year. My students, as graduating seniors, will never come to my classroom again. Some of this bummed I’m feeling is definitely for myself and my experience in this pandemic, but a significant amount is an empathetic bummed for my students as their senior year “is falling apart”, as one of my students put it. With their senior trip to California, prom, college signing day, and most likely their graduation ceremony canceled, our seniors are feeling much more bummed than I am. These quintessential senior events the students have eagerly anticipated all year (I heard prom dress talk in October) are not postponed, but will not happen at all for them. By the time my school district made the call to close our schools (at the time until March 27th) we had just started our spring break. We had no idea that school day was their last day of school ever.

These classic senior events are particularly important in our school community. High school graduation and senior signing day are important and meaningful occasions for all families, but if your parents have a middle school education and you are the first person in your family matriculating to college, they are doubly significant. Prom is a fun and iconic experience for everyone, but when your high school does not have a single school dance except senior prom it becomes your only opportunity to get dressed up and take photos and dance with all your friends you’ve been with since pre-K. A week-long trip to California with your senior class would be exhilarating for any high school senior, but when the only trips you have ever taken outside of Houston are the school trips you took in middle school and sophomore year, then senior trip means a little more. This senior trip was the first to be our first ever. Our students met with administration to make the case for this trip and had fundraised thousands of dollars to pay for the trip making the loss of the trip extra disappointing.

I teach about 70 seniors and 7 juniors. I see stark differences in the way the two grade levels are handling this situation. Every single one of my 7 juniors has regularly shown up to virtual office hours or reached out by text for clarification on the work. In contrast, I’ve seen about 10 seniors in total at my virtual office hours over the first four weeks. The seniors are mostly doing and turning in their work (although I’m guessing there are some pictures of answers floating around so not sure they are necessarily doing the work…), but most of them are not showing the engagement they would normally show in class. I have about 10 seniors who I have not received a single piece of work from — they’ve just given up.

When talking to our social-emotional counselor that works with our senior class this week she related that some of the students that suffer from anxiety and depression, she regularly meets with in school, are not even responding to her texts and parents are at a loss of what to do. Other students are trying to do their work, but struggling with balancing everything on their plates. I got a message from a student just last night apologizing that she wasn’t going to finish the work due that night because she was tired and still had another assignment she needed to finish. She has nieces she is taking care of during the day as well as helping her little brother do his schoolwork. A lot of our students at the high school have become the ‘at home’ teacher for their little siblings because the parents are at work or don’t speak English, so cannot help even if home. These are stressors a lot of our students are experiencing. Seniors have the added discomfort of grieving the senior year they were supposed to have.

One of my favorite students was on office hours this week just unloading his frustration. He is an extremely high achiever; very intelligent and motivated. He is taking 5 AP classes and doing every single piece of work that is assigned to him but feeling awfully overwhelmed by it all and just extremely disappointed watching the plans he had made for spring of his senior year crumbling away. At one point in the office hours with just the two of us he shared he had just received a prestigious scholarship that awards $8,000 each year of college for summer programs. This is a scholarship he had applied for months ago and spent weeks writing his essays for (and having me read and reread them). He was really counting on receiving this scholarship, and when he was telling me about it this week he had to say “I am really happy” out loud, because he just couldn’t muster up the energy to show excitement for it.

Of course, we will all make it through this. I’ll be back in my classroom (please God in August!) again. I’ll get back to normal life. I’m just bummed that for 2020 seniors this special phase will be omitted from their lives.

Caitlin Campbell

Maybe we can persuade her to write again? I think she has more to say than this one article.

What the hell are we doing??

5 stages of grief-white

I’ve been trying to figure out the road map that got us from scary and uncertain projections a few weeks ago to where we are this morning. Governor Abbott confidently announced: “We’ll put a new order in place that begins to open up a lot of businesses and so we’re running pretty much every different type of business that exists in the state of Texas,” including churches. I should be delighted, right? But I’m a bit anxious.

We started out the COVID-19 story with a conviction that “these things” cannot happen here. We’re too well-organized, too civilized, too on-top-of-things and our standards too high to let such an unseemly breakout of this kind get out of control. No, not here. And, besides, it won’t reach our shores anyway. This is what is called the Denial phase.

Then we began blaming “the others” for bringing and spreading COVID-19 here. When that didn’t help, we dug in deeper with theories about an unleashing of the virus from a lab “over there”. Depending on the story, it was either intentional or accidental, but in both cases, it was hidden and underhanded. Much energy was expended finding a scapegoat — less on plans to mitigate the impact. This is what is called the Anger phase.

The hospitals and data scientists raised alarm bells. Data trends and actual numbers diverted attention from the blame-game. Things got real – it was indeed breaking out “over here”, and in a big way. There ensued much thrashing, churning and gnashing of teeth. COVID-19 filled the psyche of the nation, in our waking and in our dreams. No conversation, newspaper, communication or media programming could avoid the topic and maintain relevance. What to do? Many approaches were designed and we started implementing restrictions “here” that had worked “over there”. This is what is called the Bargaining phase.

We submerged into quiet isolated pockets of existence, surfacing only for essentials. Some of us were deemed to be essential persons in essential industries, so continued regular activities such as doctor, nurse, policeman, fireman, or food supply chain workers. The rest of us switched our lives over to Zoom and carried on, as best we could, from our closeted safe spaces. Much of the economy ground to a standstill. The stock market plunged. Filing for unemployment skyrocketed. Periodic touch points with the external world through Zoom and media left us grasping for coping techniques. We were reminded of our social nature — some did better than others in their isolation. COVID-brain and dysfunction creeps in all around. This is what is called the Depression phase.

Now we can’t take it any longer. We’re busting out all over the country. We are figuring out how to come alive again. We are ready to leap into the world again. It appears that some jurisdictions are leap-frogging the carefully designed methodical and gradual re-opening gates and phases. Many don’t have time for that. Haste to reopen looks risky and dangerous, but we don’t care or don’t believe it. We cannot stay locked down anymore. We need to jump-start our economy again. We need to resuscitate our jobs and our social life in order to survive — AND we need our health too. Trade-offs will be made. If we find out we’ve leapt too soon, we may need to run through this cycle again. We’ll worry about that when it happens. Maybe this coming winter? Right now, we’re “gonna saddle up and move ’em on out”! This is what is called the New Beginnings phase.

As for me, I get it, but I’ll be watching from behind my mask and gloves at a 6-ft distance —  and mostly from my house! Wishing everyone all the best.





Blondes will disappear from the earth

Extinct Blondes


When we crawl out of our isolation bubbles, what are we going to see?

I’ve seen memes, hilarious, if not accurate sources of cultural trends, predicting 88% fewer blondes. I wonder.

A friend circulated an article last week in a group text about the dangers of coronavirus exposure to hairstylists. “According to analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, barbers, hairstylists and cosmetologists top the list of the most contact-intensive occupations.” The hairstylists need the money, but it’s risky business. This text group needs their services, but their salons are shut down.

None of the women in this text group could possibly still possess a single strand of natural blonde or brunette, or black hair. Once you get to the other side of the fuzzy, we’re not so sure about your hair color, 40s and 50s, let’s be real ladies….  We all know you’re doing something, if you’re not some shade of grey. It’s Biology 101.

When the multi-person text popped up on my feed, I expected it to unleash a multi-pinging chorus of complaints about terrible roots, straggly grey hair, crying about no access to their hairdresser, maybe digging out an old wig or scarf to cover it all up, etc.

But, I was wrong. That’s not at all what came back.

It was an explosions of true confessions. There was an outpouring of texts starting with phrases like “please don’t judge me, but ….”. It would seem that a dedicated “dyer of hair” is not going to be easily thrown off her commitment to holding back the grey by an inconvenient pandemic.

Oh no, they have their ways. Hairdressers are willing to do one-on-one sessions at your house in hazmat suits, for a price. They are also willing to quietly open up their salon and take care of you in the back, where passersby cannot see. Again, all for a price. I imagine a room like the one where Saul camps out in “Better Call Saul” (give that Netflix series a try, if you don’t already love it.) Some have also figured out how to touch up the roots on their own, anticipating that this won’t go on that much longer – especially in Texas.

I’m too cheap for all this coloring activity.  Even though my family assures me I am decidedly grey, when I look in the mirror I still see blonde. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Nevertheless, I’m tickled by the creativity and brassiness of all these texts. You go for it girls! I, for one, am not judging you.

I think there are still going to be plenty of blondes, brunettes and black haired beauties on the other side of COVID. You wait and see.

What questions will the future want to ask us about the 2020 world shut-down?

List of ListsI often brainstorming ideas for my next topic, before narrowing down what I will write about. Today, I started listing reflection questions that have been dancing around in my head. Rather than picking one to write about, I decided to just put them all out there today. They could serve as food for thought for others. Here’s my list of starting points. The next step would be to take one and write as many ideas as I can for that topic. I’ll be journaling about these as the days crawl by. Pick one and give it a try:

  • What things have fed my soul during this isolation?
  • What don’t I miss at all?
  • What do I miss most?
  • What are my favorite memories of this lock down period
  • What things do I now appreciate … that I maybe complained about before?
  • What will I stop doing when life restarts?
  • What new things have I done?
  • What things do I want to do differently when I return to the world?
  • What have I learned to do myself, that I never do normally?
  • What have I learned about myself?
  • What have I learned about my family dynamics?
  • What things changed in my daily / weekly rhythm … that I want to maintain?
  • How has my neighborhood been different?
  • What things have I seen for the first time — either because I didn’t notice, or they weren’t there?
  • Who have I grown closer to during this time?
  • What new acquaintances or friends have I made?
  • What new passions have I discovered?
  • What people / things have been my greatest support?
  • What things do I anticipate being different the next two years?
  • What do I think I will feel nostalgic about when looking back on this time?
  • What things have I done to cope?
  • In what ways did I take advantage of this break?
  • What things am I still wanting to do, that I haven’t done yet?

Send me some more of your ideas ….