Can we (re)learn enjoyment?

Earlier this week I was in a kickoff meeting and as a way to foster connection within the new team I asked everyone “what is one thing you learned to enjoy over the last eighteen months?”

Each team member, including myself referenced what we would have been doing, had we been able, including things that stopped us from doing more of what they enjoyed (mostly hectic work and travel schedules). One team member indicated how the demands of a young family had kept him from playing the guitar for almost a decade and he had started playing again. Another, an avid sportswoman, found herself unable to pursue the water sports she most enjoyed, turning to yoga which she spoke very highly of. Both I and another team member nodded in agreement, I to the yoga and him chiming in that he had unwillingly started Pilates and now loved it. We all got a chuckle from the newly retired team member who was enjoying not doing things; namely commuting in heinous traffic, dry cleaning runs, and shaving daily.

I found it interesting that all of us prefaced what we currently enjoyed with what we use to enjoy as a justification of sorts for indulging in such simplistic activities. Do not let me fool you for one second, Pilates can be soul-crushingly difficult, and don’t even get me started on the guitar. Yet juxtaposed with surfing global hotspots they could sound tame.

Over the last eighteen months, we have learned to enjoy many things that in December 2019 would have seemed frivolous maybe even impossible. I can say with certainty that my own pre-pandemic travel scheduled would not have allowed for so many of the things I currently enjoy. I wonder if I would have even enjoyed them as they are very slow and very local.

The workload and travel schedule that I use to thrive on, was actually more of a survival mechanism. Unpacking that I will save for another post (or ten), so for the sake of brevity I will say that through self-reflection, I see clearly why my pre-pandemic life no longer serves me and by cultivating a way of life that is rooted in calm, I have found so much to enjoy in the most unassuming aspects of life.   

What is one thing you learned to enjoy over the last eighteen months?

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