By now, most of you have baked banana bread and tried making whipped coffee. You may have also joined the trend of building somewhat of a home gym and promised yourself to work out every day, or took on a new (or revived) hobby like painting or cooking. I admit to doing all of those things with you.
I’ve gone on whipped coffee for a month; I started sewing clothes only to quickly realize I just don't have the talent for it; I picked up my paint brush once more only to find it no longer fit me; I joined maybe 6 different working-out motivation groups only to find out that I don't enjoy them at all and prefer to do things on my own terms.
And as the weeks turn into months and the leaves start to change colors, fall, and grow back again, I am proud to say I've been consistently inconsistent about my lockdown hobbies and interests. In that spirit, I just started listening to podcasts! Some less intellectually enriching than others.
I was listening to this episode of a podcast while working on some things for Team CORE and they hosted Christina Koch, an American astronaut who set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman with a total of 328 days. They invited her to discuss her time in space but more importantly, her re-entry to Earth and what she, and other astronauts like her, do in order to integrate with life here once more.
Koch explained that it took her around 2 months to get used to her now heavy head and her new awareness of which parts of her body are heavier than others making a simple walk down a straight line a challenging task. But she also talked about her social challenges as a busy grocery store was intimidating or going out to a restaurant overwhelmed her with options. She had the following to say about this shift in her life:
“It’s a testament to the human body [and how it] adapts to situations that it's in and that becomes our new normal really quickly. Our ability to define normal with what’s around us is an amazing capability that we have when we are put in new situations.”
Now, pausing the task I was working on to pay closer attention to what she was saying, I noticed the hope her words brought. We are 321 days into our very own ‘new’ life and we are defining it day by day. Our bodies and minds are catching up so if you need to take on 25 different new hobbies just to drop them all, there’s nothing stopping you. Allow yourself leniency and empathy because it takes a lot of courage, just as it took from Koch, to navigate uncharted territories.
Yet a few weeks ago, we saw rioters taking to the streets, rejecting this adaptation. Take that as you will.