- Special days are great reasons to spend quality time to reconnect with family and friends, but we don’t have to wait for special occasions.
- Learn about The 5 Love Languages by taking an online quiz.
- There is always a silver lining if you are looking for one. Sometimes you just have to look harder to find one.
- Making true connections does not have to be in person. It can be short conversations by phone or Zoom.
Many of us look forward to special days like birthdays, anniversaries, and special cultural holidays like today. But what is it that we love most about these days? For me, it’s the anticipation, the day of celebration, and the gathering of loved ones. I crave quality time. And of course, a big part of the celebration is centered around the delicious food that is prepared and shared with delight and satisfaction.
I often share how I am passionate about people. I love everything about relationships—starting them, establishing rapport, building and maintaining them, and spending quality time with friends and family. Connections with people fill my heart and make my day. So, it’s not surprising that on special days, I enjoy the days leading up to it and most definitely thrive in the midst of celebrating and furthering connections with friends and family.
The 5 Love Languages
I recently learned about The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman from my fellow Teach Better Ambassador, Brianna Shaner. I completed the online quiz to discover what my love language was. It somewhat surprised me to find that the results did not turn out as I expected. Prior to the quiz, my best guess would have been “words of affirmation,” but instead, it revealed my love language to be spending “quality time.” While this did not completely surprise me, the insight has helped me understand myself better.
No Celebration Was Hard
Our Canadian Thanksgiving was on October 12. It was one of my hardest days since the pandemic hit. Days before, I missed the anticipation of celebrating with friends and family. We always have parties at my house, so on the day of, I missed the preparation of my home and the food. (Well, I didn’t miss the pre- and post-party clean-up too much!)
I most definitely missed the human connection and surely missed the juicy turkey my dad makes each year, too. Little did I realize how much I needed all of this until the end of the night. I went to my husband to ask for a simple hug, which ended up being a good cry on his shoulder. You see, I don’t often cry. So when the tears started, it surprised me and I had to reflect on why. I love special days so I can spend quality time with loved ones. It hurt not having it this year.
Our Covid positive cases here in the Greater Vancouver area in B.C. have risen in the past few weeks, not unlike many other parts of the world. As a result, our Provincial Health Officer informed us that holiday celebrations will look different this year. We can celebrate with loved ones in our own immediate household bubble with some exceptions to include one other who lives alone. While I fully understand the necessity of this and will comply, it was truly disheartening to hear. This means no in-person quality time with loved ones. My love language and strong need for love from my extended family and friends will not be met again…or yet!
I deeply believe there is always a silver lining if you are looking for one. Sometimes, you just have to look harder to find one. I don’t often have to look too hard though because I naturally have a positive mindset. I see challenges as opportunities that often lead to possibilities. It’s a set of lenses we can choose to put on to interpret what happens around us. We choose a positive or negative lens.
For today, I choose to see it as an opportunity to reflect on how special my friends and family are to me. I will meditate on their love that resides in me regardless of whether I see them in person and know we are safer in our own homes. I feel truly blessed to have such strong bonds. This absence will make our first family dinner after Covid that much more special!
Embrace Every Day as a Gift
Sometimes we wait for the special days, the upcoming holidays, or the “fill in the blank” days to come. May I encourage you to see every day as a gift. We don’t need to wait for these events to get what we want from them. Embrace what every day has to offer to you. One of my most favorite videos is Gratitude by Louis Schwartzberg. He reminds us to be grateful for every day. We have the opportunity to cultivate and open our hearts to see the beauty in our world and everyday moments. He hopes that everyone we meet every day will be blessed by our presence. We can be that gift to others.
I have shared this often recently. In every interaction, we have the opportunity to uplift others to make their day a brighter one through our kindness and gratitude.[scroll down to keep reading]
While many of us celebrate on this day, I am reminded that we control how we connect on other days. I don’t ever have to wait for special occasions to make the connections I so crave. If I want it, I need to make it happen. I can reach out to my loved ones anytime to spend quality time by talking on the phone or over Zoom. While it may look quite different and I know it’s not the same because I don’t get my in-person hugs, our silver lining is that we are keeping each other safe.
Regardless, I am so grateful and blessed for our connection and love. The pandemic taught me that relationships can all be initiated, fostered, and grown digitally. Essentially everyone in my PLN on Twitter and in the Teach Better family network I have yet to meet in person, but the closeness and friendship I feel are so deep and real. I thank you all for your gift of connection.
I encourage you to discover what your love language is so you can better understand yourself. Learn how you like to share your love and receive it. You may find that they are not the same. This insight may help with how you connect better with others. So no matter how you intend to spend your special days today or up ahead, don’t wait. Create opportunities for that connection building on a regular basis. Relationships are built on time spent together regardless of the mode. Enjoy your quality time in person and digitally. Every interaction is a connection between your hearts!
There’s something simple about having a special dinner for four. A few years ago, we had the biggest snowstorm so our big family dinner was canceled at my house. We honored the opportunity to keep it simple—to just enjoy being a family of four and still made it special. For my extended family, I intend to connect over Zoom. I will change my mindset and stop thinking it’s not the same and just thoroughly embrace and enjoy our quality time together!
Wishing you a happy, healthy, and safe holidays!
ABOUT LIVIA CHAN
Livia Chan is an educator passionate about community, teaching, leading, and lifelong learning. She truly believes in the power of connection and thoroughly enjoys building relationships by reaching out with kindness and gratitude. Livia lives by the belief that it is through every interaction that we have the opportunity to appreciate and uplift others to help make their day a brighter one. Her other passions include family and ringette as a volunteer coach, Executive member, referee, and player.
For over 20 years, Livia has continued to experience the joy of teaching in the Greater Vancouver area in BC, Canada and loves her role as a Head Teacher and classroom teacher. Previously, she served on the District Staff Development Team in Learning Technologies supporting K-12 educators. Currently, Livia is honored to be the Digital Content Editor and Ambassador for the Teach Better Team and loves being a part of this family! Her motto is “Working together to better ourselves, each other, and the world around us.”