Before COVID, I think I didn’t so much “act” as I “reacted”. 

There was so much going on, and I ran from event to event.  I was always thinking ahead to the next thing on the calendar, making sure that I had things lined up and ready. 

Sometimes, it seemed kind of like a big check-list with an impossibly long list of things to do. 

Lockdowns, quarantines, cancellations, social distancing, rules (upon rules upon rules)… all that has changed me.

Today, I offered to help the girls’ lacrosse team get started at their first practice, just because I feel badly for the short-staffed coach.  In the end, it turned out that there was really only one task I could help with. 

This left me with time to fill.  The pre-COVID Jill would have used it to move forward some project.  But I was not prepared today.  Instead, I called my husband, and we decided to go through the grocery store—together.  (It’s become our COVID form of a couple’s outing—not that we ever really went out that much anyway.)

We were very efficient together, and when we finished, I still had one full hour before my daughter was ready to go back home.  I could drive home and be in my house for fifteen minutes, but that seemed silly. Again, before a year of slowing down, I would have had my computer with me, and I would have planned for the possibility of being stuck with downtime.

OK, I am kidding myself:  before this, I would never have offered to help with the girls’ lacrosse team for something open-ended.  It would have had a fixed start—and end—time.

But not now.  Now, when presented with an hour of time, my mind responds differently.  Today my mind went to “silly” things—like sitting in the sunshine in a park.  Or getting a drink to slowly sip while soaking in the sun. Or seeing if a friend who lives nearby were home, and taking the chance she might have a few minutes to chat. 

In the end, I was excited about talking with the friend, and I drove over to her house to see if she were there.  If she weren’t, oh well; I could still get the drink and sit in the sun. 

When I arrived at their house, I was in luck.  She was home and done with work for the day. 

This unexpected time ended up being a bonus for everyone.  Four dogs enjoyed an unexpected romp in the family’s fenced-in backyard.  I caught up with my friend.  And, I got to hear all about her son’s plans for after college graduation, which happens in just a few weeks. 

I am hard pressed to remember a time I’ve had a “spare hour” in April in the past, oh, probably eight years. 

But today I did, thanks to the odd schedules that COVID gives us… and it turned out to be my silver lining.