Prior to COVID, Charlie and I often went out for Sunday morning brunch. We called it our date brunch; we would often spend hours just talking, connecting, and ensuring we were making quality time together a priority.
Our schedules are generally very full and we learned a long time ago that we needed to put our connection time on our calendars and honor it just as we would a client meeting or a doctor’s appointment or dinner with a friend.
For years we had Thursday evenings as our date nights/connection time, but as time went on we both realized that we weren’t showing up as our best selves for our dates. Most weeks are incredibly full for both of us, and by Thursday night, if we aren’t already running on fumes, we aren’t far from it.
We realized that we weren’t truly honoring our relationship by scheduling our date time on Thursdays, so we shifted to Sunday morning brunch, where we generally felt fresher and really able to show up for quality time together.
It’s not that we didn’t find other times during our week to spend time together; it’s just that we knew for sure that we had those hours together, uninterrupted, to connect and deepen our relationship.
We often find times to go on walks together or eat a quick meal together, but those aren’t for sure and are usually shorter. And, they can feel more like check-ins than deep, heart-centered connection time (though check-ins are also super important for a healthy relationship!).
We realized over this past weekend that we haven’t been honoring our date brunch connection time since COVID started. One reason for that is because pre-COVID, we intentionally left our home on those Sunday mornings and put ourselves in a different environment where we would share a meal and conversation, and — weather permitting — a nice, long walk.
Restaurants have been closed since March and we never had a discussion about how we wanted to continue our connection time in a different context, in a new world. It was one of the casualties of COVID. There have been so many!
And, full transparency here, since March, we have often felt like we’ve been in fire-fighting mode in our lives and business.
We have found other places and times to connect, but they haven’t been scheduled times that are honored on our calendars, which means that it hasn’t been consistent nor did we have a conversation about how we wanted to honor our date time.
As we sat down together this past Sunday and spent what was closest to our brunch date time since March, we both realized and spoke to the disconnection from each other we’ve been feeling. It’s not that we’ve been fighting or even had any issues with one another that have been unspoken, it’s that we haven’t honored our deeper connection time — at exactly the time we’ve needed it most.
Over the last three and a half months we have had great conversations, we have shown up for each other when it was needed, and we have been caring and loving to one another — but we’ve been doing it mostly in a reactive way rather than a proactive way.
For so many years, that proactive scheduled date time is what has kept us so deeply connected, and not having that time has been hard on both of our hearts in a way that we didn’t fully realize until we had our “almost date brunch” on Sunday.
In many ways, not just in our relationship, we have been surviving and not thriving.
We discussed how we want to proactively get back to our deeper place of connection moving forward. It’s going to take work, but it is completely worth it. And we are both committed to doing the work.
We have both been so focused on getting by, and through that, so much of what has supported us in being thriving humans has lapsed or been set to the side for a time. There is no shame there, just awareness. With that awareness came the realization that “just surviving” is not where we want to be, and we are putting in the work to get back to that place of truly thriving.
While it’s true that many places in the world have entered into different phases of re-opening with COVID, I think that most of us can honestly say that it is not “back to normal,” nor do we even know what normal will be. Things will continue to change and shift and that can be disorienting and exhausting.
It’s quite normal to be in a place of just surviving. I would imagine that many of us — if we’re not there at this exact time — have been in places of just surviving and feeling like that’s about all we can do. If you’re still there, that’s OK. I see you and I honor that. I spend more time there myself than I would like.
Today, and really starting this past weekend, I made a commitment to do my best to move beyond just surviving in my relationship with Charlie and back into that place of thriving. In fact, I am spending time now looking at many areas of my life (exercise and eating in particular for me) and taking steps to get back to thriving rather than surviving.
Is there an area of your life where you feel like you want to shift back into a more proactive and healthy place of thriving, rather than just surviving? It could be in your romantic relationship. Or, it could be in your health routines and habits. Perhaps in your sleeping cycles or work hours?
I believe that we are going to be dealing with the changes and repercussions of COVID for a long time to come. And I don’t say that to scare you or bring you down, just to nudge you. If you were waiting on COVID to be over to get back to your healthier existence, you may be waiting a while.
Instead, are you ready to take that first step forward, from “just surviving” toward “truly thriving”?