As the virus has forced us to distance ourselves from others, it is forcing us closer to our immediate families. Many of the standard distractions and forced time away from one another have gone away. Schools are closed. Many will work from home for an extended period of time. Northern states are still fairly cold, which naturally limits outdoor activities. Hanging out with friends is discouraged. Many public locations are either strongly discouraged or have shut down. The quarantine is real and the length of time we will be told to stay home is unknown. It seems safe to assume we are looking at a month minimum. Watching how events play out in Washington and the Northeast will be telling for the rest of the country.
As professional leagues, colleges and universities, and eventually the public-school systems shut down this week, the lyrics to a song immediately came to mind. I love the meaning of this song and encourage everyone to read the lyrics and contemplate them. The song is Guaranteed by Eddie Vedder. Several lines resonate with me as we face this virus and quarantine.
Circles they grow and they swallow people whole
Half their lives they say goodnight to wive’s they’ll never know
Got a mind full of questions and a teacher in my soul
So it goes
The bolded line is especially relevant as we are forced to really live with our families during this period. Do you really know your loved ones? Do you know what they think about? What they care about? It will be interesting to see what will happen when we are forced to slow down and live in our homes with our families? I’m sure some or maybe most will find ways around this – luckily the virus hasn’t infected the internet – can you imagine the fall out if that happened?
This is amazing opportunity to get to know our loved ones again, or maybe for the first time. We have been forced to slow down. We won’t be racing around from one activity to the next. We won’t be able to keep ourselves busy finding random things to do outside the home. Granted you could choose to find distractions at home. Binge watch Netflix, spend even more time on your phone, and so on. I hope that isn’t the case though.
I hope we take advantage of this time. I hope we talk to our families. Not only talk, I hope we have real conversations. The virus is a nice way to start these conversations. We should discuss the events that have taken place so far and what may happen in the future. We should talk about the things we take for granted each and every day. We should talk about how easy most of us have it in this country compared to the rest of the world. We should talk about how challenging this is going to be for some of our friends and neighbors. We should talk frankly about what really matters in this life and what clearly doesn’t matter. These won’t be easy conversations, but they are worth it.
We are in dire need of a reality check. Imagine if this virus was killing kids and young adults, instead of older individuals and those that are already sick. Maybe that is the lens we should be viewing all of this through. We have an opportunity to evaluate our priorities and focus on what really matters. The virus will eventually pass and when it does we will be left with a choice – live a better life than we did before or go right back to the same life we had before the virus turned the world upside down.
What will you choose?
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