Five Things I've Learned to Appreciate During The Pandemic
Hello #BracketLifer’s and welcome to this week’s blog post! It’s Rachel here – and this week I’m sharing five things I’ve learned to appreciate during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, I’ll be the first to tell you, I’m sick of hearing about the pandemic, and I’m sure you are too. But I’d be lying if I said I haven’t learned a lot since the beginning of this whole thing.
Here are five things I’ve learned to appreciate, now more than ever:
1. Our Racing Community: As someone who is extremely extroverted and loves to be around people all of the time, I never realized how much I took being at the race track for granted. It’s not just being at the race track that is the best part for me, it’s the community of people I am surrounded by. Bracket racers are some of the most genuine and supportive people I’ve ever meet, and I consider them to be my second family. When our racing season got delayed due to the pandemic in May, it really stopped me in my tracks. As I sat at home on the weekends with Brandon, we talked a lot about how much our racing family meant to us, and how they have impacted our lives a lot more than we realized. I used to always think that I was ‘missing out’ on all of the fun things my friends were doing when I was younger. But what I’ve realized over these past few months, is that I have always been exactly where I was supposed to be – surrounded by people who support, encourage, and motivate me to be the best person I can be. I am so thankful and appreciative of my racing community – I seriously can’t imagine my life without them.
2. Family: At the very beginning of COVID-19, when we were encouraged to go into self-isolation/quarantine, Brandon and I made the decision to go into self-isolation together at our house. For six-weeks, we didn’t see anyone or leave the house (except to get groceries) like we were supposed to. It was really hard … like I’m sure it was for you and your family too. Since Brandon and I are both extremely close with our families, we vowed to keep in touch with our families much more frequently than we had before. We started calling our grandparents, every other day, and stayed in touch with our parents and siblings through facetime almost on a daily basis. It was awesome, and it brought us all closer together – even if it had to be through a phone screen. My mom was calling Brandon’s great-nan, and it was so beautiful to see how close our families were becoming when we didn’t have ‘life’ keeping us busy. Living through this pandemic has made me appreciate quality time with family so much more than it used to. I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to see my parents and sister on a weekly basis, and will never pass up an opportunity to visit them in the future.
3. Local Bracket Races: During a regular racing season, we travel across Canada and the US to attend many ‘big money’ bracket races. And I’ll be honest in saying this, I never actually realized how fortunate I was to be able to travel as much as I do, until the pandemic hit. At the beginning of the season, when our three Ontario northern races were cancelled, I was devastated. A month later, when the US border closed and our chances of attending EliteFest and the SFG $1.1 Million were completely gone, I was even more devastated. But rather than looking at the negatives, I made the decision to quickly adjust my perspective on things. After having a conversation with Brandon about the future of our racing season, we realized that although the opportunity to travel to these races was taken away from us, we still had our local bracket races to attend. See, you can travel anywhere across the world to bracket race, but without your local bracket races, the sport would never survive and we would have never become the racers we are today. We have become so much more passionate about grassroots bracket racing since the beginning of this pandemic, and if I’m being honest, I think we all need to appreciate our local race tracks now more than ever.
4. Personal Development (Novels, Podcasts): If you know me, you know I’m a big believer in personal development. Three years ago, I began my journey of personal development and fell in love with everything I was learning. Reading personal development novels and listening to podcasts has really helped me to grow as a person and has helped keep me on track throughout this pandemic. I truly believe that because of the work I put into personal development, I have been able to maintain a positive mindset throughout this really challenging time. Since the pandemic has started, I have been able to successfully start a company, continue to work from home for my full-time job, strengthen my relationship with Brandon, and maintain my nutrition/ gym routine. What might seem like a lot of work, has actually allowed me to stay on track and continue chasing my goals. I’m so thankful that I made the decision years ago to put my future self-first. Now more than ever, you deserve to put yourself first too. I’d highly recommend jumping into personal development if you are struggling during this pandemic right now. 5.
5. Practice Tree: Last but not least, I am so appreciative of the practice tree. Now, I’m sure this sounds silly after reading all of the other things above, but I’m serious. I have always struggled to hit the tree in bracket racing. My lights have never been consistent and if I ever did get a 00 light, it was by pure luck. At the very beginning of the year, before I even knew what COVID-19 was, I made the decision to take 15 practice hits a day on the practice tree in an attempt to improve my reaction times this year. Thanks to COVID-19, I ended up having a lot more time to hit the practice tree then I needed, but what I can’t believe is the difference it has made in my performance on track this season. It turns out ‘practice makes perfect’ really is a true statement. As things start to go back to normal, I am so grateful I spent the time on the practice tree then. It has not only helped me with my reaction time, but allowed me to reflect on my performance a lot more frequently and in depth.
Well … thanks for reading this week’s blog post! I hope you gained something from this post, and it encourages you to reflect on what you are appreciative of through the pandemic. I’d love to hear what you have to say. Share in the comments below!
Catch you next-next week,