Since the coronavirus nightmare began, I’ve been off work – giving me time to realize I haven't always been as grateful as I should have been.

Being able to come and go as I please – to go to church, to go to the store whenever I wish, to just go to work -- are certainly things I’ve taken for granted. I didn’t quite appreciate all the freedoms I’ve enjoyed until they were gone. I miss seeing my family, but they are safely in their homes, so I’ll be okay there until we can gather again.

During the shelter in place, I've also learned a lot about myself. For instance, feeling like I’m without purpose is not a comfortable feeling for me. I've also come to the conclusion I’ll never be able to retire because a life of leisure is not for me!

I’ve cleaned; I’ve shampooed the carpets; I’ve rearranged my cabinets; I’ve even patched my roof tiles that blew off during the last storm. I’ve read countless books; I’ve watched all the movies I recorded but didn’t have time to watch; and I’ve completed over 25 crossword puzzles -- so far -- in ink to make it harder and take more time to complete. I can’t imagine a time when all I’ll have to do is busy work every day.

Anyway, although we’re living in trying times right now, there is hope. This will pass. We’ll get back some semblance of normal. I doubt it will ever be the old normal -- even after there’s a vaccine to eradicate COVID-19 -- but we’ll all adjust to our new way of life. We’ll grow our families, welcome people into our lives and continue to love each other. We will survive and thrive because that’s what we are meant to do.

I will not become complacent, however, and forget this time we are living through. From this day forward, every day that I can be productive and laugh and love the people important to me, I’ll look at as a gift. And I fully intend to enjoy my gifts, even while getting used to my new reality.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I know I will live a life of purpose no matter what that entails. Above all, I will embrace my renewed gratefulness for all I’ve been given and rejoice when my new life begins.