About a year ago, I was chatting with a close friend from New Zealand and he asked me the following:
That one question really got me thinking. HAVE my perspectives and philosophies been altered? Has Long COVID changed me as a person? Let’s dive into this for a bit. Hold on, I’m going to be rambling a bit from here on…
My career so far
One thing that has changed is how I view my career vs my family. Before becoming a mom, I knew I would never not work as a designer. My job is more than a job, designing is also one of my greatest hobbies. Once Vik was born, travelling between Eindhoven and Rotterdam became too much, even if it was just two days a week. 12 hours away from home, from that tiny little man, it was way too long and way too far. And so, I quit my job and went on as a self-employed, independent designer. Finally MooiMentha was my main focus, careerwise.
For the first few years I worked mornings, while Bas spent time with Vik. At lunchtime we switched. Then Vik went to playgroup and that became my work hours. All along we kept in mind that, once Vik would go to school at 4 years old, I could finally start to put in more hours and really build up my studio. For about 1.5 months, that was exactly what happened. And then COVID arrived and schools shut down.
A shift in priorities
Up until a few months ago, I’ve felt frustration at not getting the chance to build my business up to more. But having been sick for over 2 yearshas taught me something very important. I love my family more than my work. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my work and I’m so happy to be able to work at all. Okay, I can only work for three, maybe four hours a day before crashing. In those few hours, I get to create amazing things for other people and that’s just awesome. It’s become easier for me to say no to things as well. I can’t work much, so why spend that precious little time on projects that don’t bring me joy?
Getting sick and not being able to work as much and being forced to rest more, has given me so much. I feel more relaxed, less stressed. Because of that, I feel Long COVID has given me the opportunity to be a better, more fun mother and partner. Admittedly, I’m still a terrible housekeeper though. The house is messy and dusty and I’m perpetually behind on laundry and dishes.
Aside from my crappy housekeeping skills, I realize I’m in a very, very lucky situation. My income isn’t necessary and so me not being able to work as much hasn’t effected our household that much. Bas has a thriving business and we can live a relatively comfortable life from his income alone. But he works long days and I can and will not expect him to pick up my slack. He knows it’s not deliberate and I do all that I can. He tries and does what he can to help and I love him so much for that.
What my heart tells me
Looking back on these past years, with the 3 year anniversary of getting sick looming around the corner, I feel I’ve grown a lot. I’ve felt almost all available emotions, from sadness, to anger, to grief even for who I was and no longer can be. But I now also feel so much love and happiness. Love for my family and how we’ve grown to an even stronger unit. Love for myself for how I handled my depression last summer by getting help. Happiness for the progress I’ve made so far, no matter how slow it’s going. And I feel hope. Hope that one day soon we can get back to walking in the woods for hours on end again, like before. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to run a 5k again. Just no more marathons for me, hahaha!
Most of all, I’m just happy to be here and able to enjoy life with my family and friends.