and then along came covid
In a weird way, I have the Covid-19 pandemic to thank for getting me back to Vermont.
My husband has worked at five different universities over the course of his career. At one point, we moved five times in ten years, never coming closer to Vermont than Michigan. (Yup, doing that will make you travel light, even with all the paraphernalia involved with two small children.)
The longest he spent in any one place was 10 years in Chicago, then 10 more in Ann Arbor—and then he moved to Hong Kong, and I stayed in Michigan for almost three more years.
But in 2019, as the pandemic crept from China to Europe to the States, I took my coaching practice online. I had been vacillating about it, considering it, wondering whether it was possible. And then it was as though the Universe had had enough of my vacillation: “You want to go virtual? Here you go. Now you have to.”
thank you, covid?
In 2021, as the pandemic dragged on and both kids moved out of the house, I started realizing that it made zero sense for me and Kermit the Dog to live in our big (4000 square feet!), beautiful house.
I’d had thoughts of renting out a floor of it. But I realized that:
- I’m too much of an introvert to have someone around and
- I’m too particular about my kitchen to share it.
I’d considered running retreats out of it—and the pandemic put a stop to those thoughts.
And because I’m an optimist (okay, I border on Pollyanna, I know), I started to think about what the pandemic was making possible for me.
I had put it out to the Universe that I wanted to end up back in Vermont—and then I’d sort of let that go. The “what” was clear—the “how” always seemed too complicated or even impossible.
Until it was simple.
I’m always telling my clients that if what they’re trying to do feels like pushing a boulder up a hill, it’s not the right time or the right goal.
When everything falls into place and feels like flow, you know you’re on the right track, whether it’s reaching a health goal or building a business.
how simple was it?
We decided to sell the house in November—it went on the market January 4, and we had decided on an offer on January 5. So we officially sold it on January 6 (my birthday) and closed on it February 14 (Valentine’s Day): does it get any sweeter than that?
By early February, I had a condo under contract in Vermont, and by March 15, I was on the road back home.
I’m currently in a sweet Airbnb—so full of air and light and good energy that I can ignore the weird kitchen layout, the slope-y floors, and the traffic noise—waiting to close on my condo at the end of April.
Were the past few months completely stress-free? No. There were some intricate financial maneuvers, a few condos that got away, a rental that didn’t work out, a minor car accident.
And all in all, it felt easy.
the body doesn’t lie
Well, it felt easy—and I’m sure I was suppressing a lot of stress. When I got to Vermont, I commented that I was sleeping like a log—could it be the air here? the water? the bed?
It was probably just exhaustion.
Selling one house, buying another, hiring movers, doing a huge amount of decluttering and packing myself—it was a full-time job for the better part of three months.
The situation reminded me of when my husband was already in Michigan (buying a house for us) and I was in SoCal with two young children (selling our house). I kept thinking, “Gosh, I’m handling this so well. I don’t feel at all stressed.”
And then I woke up one night and realized I’d dislocated my jaw from clenching my teeth so hard in my sleep….
back to business … or not
I mentioned to a friend of mine that I felt guilty not putting much time into my practice the past three months, and she said, “You ARE your business. If you’re doing anything to take care of yourself, you’re working on your business.”
(Yes, she’s a coach, too—can you tell?)
While I wrapped up one group program, kept up with my 1:1 clients, and did a few virtual workshops, it wasn’t until early April that I finally got back to doing some of the other work that’s piled up.
And then I got sick with Covid.
Do I share an air vent system with my neighbors, who all got it? Did my kids bring it to me?
“Where do you think you got it?” feels like a somewhat irrelevant question.
About the time that Omicron hit, it was as though a switch flipped for me, and I started to think, we’re all going to get this at some point.
It didn’t make me any less careful—and it made it easier to handle a positive test.
I am one of the lucky ones—thanks to the vaccine and booster, a wide array of conventional and alternative, western and Chinese medicines (you should see the pharmacy on my countertop!), it felt like a bad cold.
Well, I’ve also noticed that everything tastes like it’s been coated in stevia—even the savory food I cook myself? And why, oh why have so many tea companies started adding stevia to their blends?!? Don’t answer that. It’s a rhetorical question.
Covid did make me take the week more or less off. I joke that my major achievements this week include:
- Catching up on all the back episodes of the Exploring The Lord of the Rings podcast (as much as I’d love to get a shoutout for listening live after this feat, there’s no way I’m staying up until 9pm—way past my bedtime)
- Getting my nickel’s worth out of my Netflix subscription—they usually make money off me (thank you, Bridgerton and Criminal Minds)
- Reaching the point where I can do an expert Sudoku puzzle in less than 30 minutes
- Reading an entire novel (Chris Bohjalian’s The Hour of the Witch—highly recommend!)
As I tell my clients, it’s good to aim low! I chalk the week up to more working on my business by taking care of myself.
thank you, covid.
And the past week has made me uplevel my gratitude practice for sure!
Among the things I’m grateful for:
- Above-mentioned medicines and medical advances
- Friends who deliver Nyquil and sinus rinse to my door
- Friends and family who call and text and send funny memes
- A beautiful space in which to isolate
- A refrigerator full of healthy food to choose from
- An electric kettle and an endless supply of herbal tea
- Kermit the Dog—for puppy snuggles, sloppy kisses, and an excuse to poke my nose outside into the spring sunshine. Yes, we took care, of course, to choose the walks least likely to have people on them. Kermit was definitely confused—but not complaining about—the amount of time I spent on the couch.
I’m up and about again—appropriately for the season, feeling resurrected—so we’re going back to our regularly scheduled programming for real this time!
Look for the usual monthly treats (cooking classes, wellness workshops, a Foundations of Wellness for Women conversation) plus a few new ones: FWW office hours and a panel discussion on what a truly holistic food experience can do for your health.
make the connection
I’m a doer—I tend to overdo, in fact, and maybe going back to work full time so soon after moving was a mistake. And maybe Covid was there to tell me to slow down….
Sometimes, it’s a matter of perception: what if Covid is happening for us, not to us?