Yesterday, the CDC eased its guidance on masking for us fully-vaccinated folks, saying those of us who have received all our shots can now safely do most indoor and outdoor activities without social distancing or wearing masks.
- Hooray! No more masks! (if you’re fully vaccinated)
Places are opening up again!
People are having parties!
Vacations are being planned!
Social life is resuming!
People are dating (in person) and having sex again!
Groups are starting to meet in person!
Many of us are going back to work (finally)!
Welcome to your New Life! It is new. We can’t really go back in time. Remember February 2020? It’s hard to remember exactly what we were doing 15 months’ ago, before COVID hit. Let’s resist the temptation to idealize our lives back then. I’ll bet if you could go back to that time and watch yourself on video, you’d see things you felt good about and other things you’d be happy to get rid of.
Well, dear reader, now’s your chance.
Your New Life doesn’t have to be like your old (pre-February 2020) one. For example, consider:
- Friends/Social Life
These are all possible aspects of Your New Life and, with each one, you get to decide how much – and in what manner – you’ll have them in your life.
We are currently in a major transition time: we are – for the most part – coming out of the worst of COVID-related trauma. It’s been over fifteen months of an altered reality for the whole planet.
This is the perfect time to re-chose what you want in your life. These major transition moments don’t come along very often. After going through a personal and universal hell, we can just go back to our old “default” ways of living, with all the good and bad that went with them, or we can consciously create a new life. Here’s an exercise I use with my clients that they’ve found helpful. I call it “Qualities of life”.
Make three columns, then write down examples (from your life) for each column:
Column One – What worked well about my old (pre-COVID) life? For example:
- I had two really great friends
- My job paid well
- I liked my apartment
- My health was good
- I got along well with my parents
Column Two – What didn’t work well about my old life? For example:
- I didn’t like my job.
- I was drinking too much
- I wasn’t happy with my social life
- I couldn’t stand my next-door neighbor
- I was hooking up a lot, but really wanted a partner
Column Three – What do I want to do differently in My New Life? For example:
- I want to find a new job, one I actually enjoy
- I want to go to therapy and find out why I drink too much
- I want a social life that has more outdoor/active stuff, like hiking and camping
- I want to improve my relationship with my neighbor
- I’d like to get off the hook-up apps and try a dating app
I’ve been doing this exercise with my clients: most of them have found it to be very helpful. We seldom take time to think about what worked well and what we want to change. This is a time of great possibilities: there’s lots of liminal space.
The word liminal comes from the Latin word “limen”, meaning threshold – a place of entering or beginning. A liminal space is the time between the “what was” and the “next”’ It’s a place of transition, not (yet) knowing what’s coming next. Liminal space is where real change and transformation take place.
Author Richard Rohr – one of my heroes and mentors – describes liminal space as where we are between the familiar and the unknown. The old world is left behind, while we’re not yet sure of what’s coming next: that’s a place where genuine newness can begin. Rohr invites us to get there often and stay as long as we can by whatever means possible…This is the place where the old world is able to fall apart, and a bigger world is revealed.
Try the “Qualities of Life” exercise and create your own liminal space: see what you want to keep from the past and what you want to release. Your New Life is waiting for you, and now is the perfect time to create it.