The past 10 days have been a lesson in how quickly and drastically life can change. Though many of us watched the situation abroad unfold, it was still hard to fathom how extraordinarily different our own lives would be within a week’s time. The coronavirus/COVID-19 and the uncertainty that it has brought with it has sent our health and financial concerns spiraling.

Major disruptions and unfair consequences

The life challenges we are facing at the moment range from “inconvenient” to “life threatening.” It seems like ages ago that we were able to move around our communities freely—-now many of us can’t even move around them at all; the shelves are bare at most grocery stores; and it’s been nearly a month since I’ve seen both sanitizer and toilet paper available for purchase at the same time.

The life-or-death situations are tragic and heartbreaking. And while others aren’t facing those issues, they may be confronting major life disruptions stemming from complicated financial hardship and/or childcare and elder loved-one issues.

Life events that people have waited for, saved for, and deserve are also going by the wayside. Among the incredible disappointments are the weddings and family gatherings that have been affected, and high school and college seniors who will miss important events that they have worked hard to accomplish or qualify for. Some of these occasions will be able to be postponed, but others won’t get that special time in their lives back.

At the moment, our family and loved ones are fortunate—we’re at the “inconvenient” stage. Our hearts go out to those whose lives have taken a more serious turn. You are all in our thoughts and prayers.

Learning from life’s tests

We learn a lot about ourselves and others in times like these—-crises tend to bring out the best and the worst in people. I’m relieved to see the increase in available tests so that we can finally know where we stand from a numbers standpoint, and people can get appropriate treatment. I’m also heartened to see the efforts that are being made to help get people through these times, particularly softening the financial blow. Unfortunately, the US is likely still at COVID-19’s early stages, which increases the importance of our collective actions during the next few weeks. Let’s be smart and aware, and beat this thing down as fast as we can.

Let cool heads prevail. If at all possible, take a step back, assess your needs, and put together a realistic plan for the next three-to-four weeks. Do your best to stay on top of life’s rapid changes. There are efforts being made to right the ship and more progress will take place.

Several lessons have been driven home for me in the past week-and-a-half. Among them:

  1. Life changes and it can change fast—-appreciate every minute of every day, and the many day-to-day conveniences that so many of us take for granted. Especially appreciate your loved ones.
  2. Pay attention to what’s going on in the world. The adult son of a friend of ours isn’t interested in the news, and doesn’t watch or listen to it. You can imagine his surprise when he visited his local grocery story last week to find bare shelves. True story—-he had no idea! I only wish that I could’ve seen his face:)
  3. Realize the impact that you have on others. Your actions and your words can help create a solution or thrust someone further into the problem. I’m always surprised—-especially now—-when I see people out-and-about, coughing, sneezing, and touching things without regard for others. The ones that really surprise me are the people that insist that they’re not contagious, and that you’re probably a germophobe. Self-absorbed? Immature? Likely both.
  4.  Keep your home/work/day-to-day environment clean. See point #3. This isn’t the last communicable illness that we’re going to encounter.
  5. If you have the room and can afford to have more than the items that you’ll use week-to-week in your home, do so. Surprises happen. That said, please don’t hoard.
  6. Get creative and think of some of the positives. Working remote? You have more time at home—-set some short-term goals to get some of the things done that you “never have time for,” or learn about that subject that you’ve had on the back burner. Spend some quality time with your kids/spouse/significant other. Put your pantry to work—-here is a simple, quick recipe for pasta (Spaghetti with oil and garlic). You know that I’m spending some time cooking (and it will be more time if I can get my hands on some eggs:). Here’s another great recipe, Crispy Slow Cooker Corned Beef. You still may find some at the store, given the time of year. It’s a little late for St. Paddy’s, but corned beef (and those fantastic Reuben sandwiches) are good all year long. Plus, if you’re stuck in your house, you’ll love how it smells:)
  7. This too will pass. There’s a lot of information to absorb, it’s sometimes hard to distinguish what is correct and what’s not, and it’s easy to feel mired in gloom. At some point, though, life will be back to what we remember as normal and we’ll look back and say, “Remember how empty those store shelves were during Covid??” In the past 20 years, we moved forward from 9/11, the Financial Crisis, and way-too-many natural disasters, including Hurricane Katrina. We’ll move forward from this crazy mess, too.

We’re in this together—-and we’ll get through this together

Stay safe, healthy, and in perspective. Take COVID-19 with the seriousness it rightly deserves, but also keep a cool head and focus on solutions. Let’s all try to support our neighbors and loved ones who are higher-risk and/or isolated, as well as our local businesses. We’ll get through this together.

“I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.” – Anne Frank

If she could think that way, we certainly can.

Until next time,

Copyright 2020 – 2023 Maggie Stenman Communications, LLC