There is no doubt that COVID has wreaked havoc throughout the world. It has killed more than a million people worldwide, disrupted or ended businesses, forced many into unemployment, and stole some of the peace of mind we have worked so hard to build in our day to day lives.
COVID is clearly a human tragedy and I feel for everyone impacted in a material way by the virus. My family has been largely unaffected by COVID and we do not take that fact for granted. Sure we have had to sacrifice like everyone else. We had to give up extended family Thanksgiving and are trying to figure out Christmas. Those seem inconsequential in the grand scheme of things though. I still have my job. We have a warm home and food. I don’t know anyone that has gotten seriously ill or died from the virus. I guess the most significant issue we have faced is having our kids home for school for the majority of the year. That is a major challenge for our kids with special needs, but we are surviving it and again in the grand scheme of things it isn’t that big of a deal.
As I thought about COVID’s impact on me personally, I came to many realizations. The main takeaway was that there were many things that were better as a result of COVID. I thought I would share some of these as we are all bracing for what is to come over the next three to six months.
Kids – With school being virtual most of the year, the kids are around more. This has certainly created challenges in our home, but it has also led to countless interactions that would have not happened otherwise. The random chats in the kitchen or my office during the work/school day would never have happened. I already feel how much I will miss those when things return to “normal”.
Lessons – There have been many opportunities to teach lessons due to COVID. Life is not fair! Life will never be fair! Bad shit happens. You miss out on opportunities. Reality does not always meet expectations. But you know what, life goes on. Own the reality and move forward as best you can. There is no time to worry about the past as it is long gone. There is no time for the what if’s that are so easy to dwell on. Life is too short! There is another hard truth – no one else really cares about what you missed out on. They are dealing with their own shit.
Beyond You – COVID has been a great opportunity to hammer home the importance of thinking beyond yourself. Wear a mask to protect your loved ones, your friends, and those that you may come in contact with first. Protecting yourself is a byproduct of protecting those around you. Helping more around the house and with the normal chores of everyday life. Lessons can be taught about how to be selfless and to put others first.
Parents are Human – COVID has allowed my wife and I to show our children that parents are human too. We face many difficult decisions as adults. Some of these decisions require much discussion and thought and even after all that talking and thinking they are still a challenge. COVID has helped us show our children that parents are people too and not everything comes easy to us. I hope letting them see our decision-making processes and being open about how we arrive at decisions serve them well as they move toward adulthood.
Priorities – Due to the limited availability of external activities and distractions we have been forced to look internal and really figure out what makes us happy (and not). If we really take the time to look hard at our feelings during this pandemic, we may be able to make great progress towards pursuing and doing the things that truly make us happy. More importantly, it may allow you to let go of the gimmicks that really don’t bring any happiness at all.
Home – Our hand was ultimately forced to move to a new home. We didn’t need to, but the size of our family and the constantly growing needs was becoming a challenge for us. We were very fortunate to find a home that is probably as close to perfect for us as we will ever find. We couldn’t be happier to have made this move.
Realization – Life is not hard. I’ve been forced to think about what we are living through now and other significant events in our history. Doing so makes it very easy to realize that what we are going through is minor compared to other events in history (World Wars, Disease, etc.). Our sacrifices are minimal at best compared to those made previously. The majority in this country are blessed with comforts that generations before us could not have fathomed, not to mention those born in other countries. We have built cocoons for ourselves that are very hard to penetrate. We are blessed to expect full cupboards, full gas tanks, and access to the very best care – on demand – all the time. The lives most of us lead in this country are not close to difficult. Any difficulties we may face are almost always self-inflicted.
Politics – COVID has shined a spotlight on politics and how disruptive and degenerative they can be. Politicians are men and women. They are flawed, self-interested, and deserve no more respect or admiration than the stranger you see walking down the street. We would all be very well served to rethink our affiliations and who we attach ourselves to.
Work – COVID forced me into a new role at work. One that was more public, on the front lines so to speak. I ended up being the main participant in nearly 50 webinars, 30 videos, and wrote 50 blog posts in about 6 months. Before COVID I had done 0, 0 and 0, respectively. This significant change was exactly what I needed. Feeling value doing something that takes up so many hours each day is absolutely essential. It’s elusive for many and had been for me for many years. COVID has helped me get in my “right seat”. I am very grateful for that.
Health – During this time, my belief that health is our most important asset has only grown. Being healthy in all ways, mentally, emotionally, and physically could not be more important. A healthy person can get through anything. Health, like anything else of value, must be worked on everyday. That work is not easy and it shouldn’t be. The value and improvements you make through that hard work are also not always easy to see or measure. The cost of poor health is very easy to see though. The price you pay only gets more costly as you grow older.
My focus or mantra these days is “find your win”. You don’t need to win the whole day. You need to find your win each day. It’s always there. Some days it will be obvious. Some days are a mindfuck (especially if you live in this house – see my older posts) and you have to search harder. Find it. Focus on it. Build off of it. Little wins build momentum. Positive momentum leads to easier wins tomorrow.
As I close this blog post, I head off to exercise. I will face something difficult and challenging – on purpose. At the end of the next 60 minutes or so, I will have won the hour. No matter what happens the rest of the day I have a win that cannot be taken away from me. Of equal importance is the fact that this win will help me win the next hour and the hour after that.
Go find your win!