For the most part, humans are social beings. Being together and connecting with others is important, as we thrive on interaction and engagement. However, we can sometimes be easily distracted from what is happening in the moment. If you're anything like me, you spend a lot of time looking at schedules and packing as much as you can into each day. Extra hours at work can be common because there is not enough time in the day to hit all the meetings and complete all the reports, and then there is the hour commute home....Life happens around us at full speed and we often forget to pause and just be in the moment.

But then COVID-19 arrived and we often say that normal life shifted in significant ways. By the end of March so many things had changed, but haven't there been some positives in the midst of this nightmare? I've heard many people comment how they've had more time with their children and were able to finally have the opportunity to enjoy meals with their family. Of course that was after a long day of video calls and hours of homeschooling math they had never seen before! Despite the pandemic, the hamster wheel just kept turning and some of us have found how out of control our lives have gotten. We can all share example after example of how we may be living our lives, but our lives are passing us by. Maybe now is the time we learn to experience each moment of our lives and begin to be more present.

Many of us in the senior living and health care fields have become PPE experts and knowledgeable in many aspects of testing and quarantines. I believe, through it all, workers in all health care settings have also become savvy at living in the moment. When someone is sick or knows they are at the end of life, they do not care if your desk has piles of files on it or all your work is complete--they only care that you were there to hold their hand. They care that they can see your eyes smiling at them and feel that comforting touch on their arm. Many could not have family by their side, and they cared that you stopped for a minute of your busy day and listened to the story of how they met their spouse.

I've heard many stories in my career about life-changing moments in history--wars, financial hardship, genocide, pandemics, and 9-11 to name a few. People remember where they were when something tragic happens, and I know health care workers will remember this pandemic differently than others might. Because for all the advancements in technology and medicine, we simply could not fix what was happening to so many.

My hope is we will all take a moment in the craziness of our days and commit to making the most of all our future moments. I hope we all practice being present in the lives of the people we walk through life with. Take the time to ask a coworker about their family and really listen to their response. Attend meetings and intently listen to each person's input instead of multitasking. Enjoy that Sunday dinner with family and start new traditions to cherish.

Though it's not easy, let's commit to being present. The rewards are bountiful. I'm confident that not one person at the end of their life looked up at a doctor or nurse in the past four months and said, "I really wish I could have cleaned the house a little more" or "I really wish I could have attended one more meeting."

Be well. Be present.