The Great Reassessment

Posted by Michael Dale Kimmel in Columns 29 Jun 2020

How do you talk about a global pandemic when you’re in the midst of it? And what can you – should you – do about BLM and four hundred years of institutional racism?

This is the perfect time for “The Great Reassessment”. The world is changing – big time. How do we cope? How do we process all these changes? In this time of so much uncertainty, we are given an opportunity to assess our lives and look at where we’ve been and where we want to go in the future.

Some people long for “the good old days”, before COVID-19 rocked our world. For better and for worse, the good old days are over. But, what would you like to keep from them? What aspects of life – before March 2020 – worked well for you?

Perhaps you’d like to keep your close friendships, your job, your home and your health. Sounds reasonable, but let’s be more specific: which friendships have become stronger through the pandemic? Health-wise, maybe you’ve realized that you like cooking more than you thought. Perhaps growing your own food or gardening has become part of your “new” life. Did you spend time making your home more pleasant? Do you appreciate your job more than before? Would you like to keep doing that when life returns to “normal”?

What didn’t work so well for you in your pre-COVID-19 life? When the world comes back “online”, what people/places/things would you like to say “goodbye” to? Maybe you no longer want to commute to work five days a week. Or perhaps you don’t need to go shopping as much as you used to: you realize that buying stuff was just a temporary fix when you felt sad or lonely. Now that you’re not in the habit of shopping to feel better, do you want to pick that habit back up again, or are there other, healthier alternatives? Do you really need to go out as much as you used to? Maybe you’ve found that you actually enjoy a quieter life and don’t need to be out five nights a week anymore.

Would you like to let go of some of your stress, anxiety and worry? COVID-19 was a global “pause”: we were forced to slow down and stay home. Many of us – myself included – started cooking more, eating better, working out and doing yoga at home. I’d like to keep up a home yoga practice (which I never had before COVID-19) but also go to yoga classes when they begin again. And, although I just went back to the gym for the first time today – hallelujah! – I can blend that with the home exercise routine that I’ve developed over the past three months.

As part of your Great Reassessment, ask yourself: “What scares me?” Identifying what you’re afraid of reduces anxiety and worry. For example, if you used to be afraid of spending time alone, perhaps the pandemic has given you lots of occasions to master that. And if you used to have major FOMO (fear of missing out) if you weren’t invited to the latest fabulous party/event, maybe the COVID-19 pause has helped you to compare yourself with others less and to enjoy your own company more.

What would you like to do differently? This is actually the best part of a reassessment. You get to decide how you want your new, post-COVID-19 life to be. What do you hope for? What have you always longed for, but never let yourself have? Let yourself begin to dream about the life you’ve wanted and write it down. Your future can be different from your past, that’s one of the gifts of reassessment.

I looked up dictionary definitions of “reassess”. It means: to think again, to have another look at, to review, to reconsider or reevaluate. These are aspects of a mentally healthy and dynamic life. One of the benefits of a crisis is that it encourages – forces – us to reassess our lives. We get to see clearly what we like about our lives, what we’re happy to get rid of, and what we would like to do differently in the future.

May you enjoy your Great Reassessment.