The Year 2020. Remember all the hype about the new “Roaring 20’s”? How we were all going to “Achieve 2020 Vision”, “2020: Create the Future”, and have a “2020 Focus on Tomorrow”? You get it, just insert your favorite “2020” cliché!
Now, just a quarter of the way into the year, everything has changed. No one’s “2020 vision” foretold of a worldwide pandemic, that we would be hunkered down in our homes for weeks/months, and that life as we know it will be changed in so many ways forever. Until 2020, it seemed that pandemics were something that always happened “somewhere else”, masks were something that you would see come out at Halloween parties, and Corona was just a beer to enjoy with a slice of lime on the beach. Things can change quickly…and they certainly have.
Personally, I consider myself extremely blessed as I write this in late March. I’m two weeks into my remote working arrangement. I have an extremely supportive employer and supervisor. My immediate family is together and healthy. I am still able to balance my time between “social distancing” and supporting my local businesses. I still have a job and a paycheck. I also realize that all of this could change in the blink of an eye.
Those that know me well, know that I am a restless soul. If you follow me on social media, you see that I literally can’t sit still. I need to get out, see the world, have an incurable case of “wanderlust”, and hardly ever take the time to just sit and relax. I have always been one not to have a “bucket list” but to just live life to its’ fullest, since tomorrow is always uncertain. This usually means road trips, getting out, and exploring all that the world offers. After only two weeks in “house arrest”, I find myself anxious, depressed, irritable, and a whole variety of emotions that I attribute to my captivity and isolation. Besides recognizing the fact that I would never survive in prison (which hopefully will never be in issue), I also realized that it is important for me to maintain my perspective. We all deal with change and uncertainly in different ways, and for me, stepping back and recognizing the positives is the only way that I can adequately cope.
- When I feel uncomfortable with my less than ideal home workstation setup…I remember that there are those that cannot work at home or don’t have a job to go to or perform at home.
- When it gets tedious answering the same questions over and over from employees…I think about the health care workers, emergency personnel, food workers, truck drivers, and the countless others that are working day and night to keep our communities as safe as possible.
- When I get tired staring at the same food in my refrigerator/freezer day after day…I think about those that don’t have enough to eat and are worried about where their family’s next meal will come from.
- When I feel trapped in my home and sometimes so anxious that I find it hard to breathe…I think about those that may not have a home to go to and especially those that are directly suffering from effects of COVID-19, with real struggles to breathe, wondering if each breath will be their last.
- When I get bored and disappointed that I’m not out on a new adventure and yearn for the day of “normalcy”….I think about those that will struggle or may never fully recover from the physical, mental, emotional, and financial harm that so many have or will experience.
We all have our struggles and challenges and must find ways to cope and, in some cases, just survive. I am strengthened by my faith and feel extremely blessed, but still struggle to some degree. I sometimes feel guilty when I think about the things that are impacting my life, knowing that they pale in comparison to what others are experiencing. I hope that in some small way, that I can be there for others and help those that need it most. I know that by following our “safer at home” directives, following CDC guidelines, and practicing common sense hygiene that I’m doing my small part to keep my family and those in my immediate community safe. There is so much more to do and I hope that by ordering from our local restaurants, showing support for our local businesses, and giving to local charities that these small contributions from me and others can help get these groups through these tough times.
When all of this is over, all of us will be changed, but hopefully for the better. Benjamin Franklin has been attributed with saying, “Out of adversity, comes opportunity.” I sincerely hope this is true. Regardless, there will be no going back to “the way things were.” Much like the post 9/11 world, life will be different. My hope is that we will all have learned from this experience and that we as a government, a country, and a society will be better prepared to more effectively deal with crises such as these in the future. While this continues to be a stressful and challenging experience for all, we can be assured that when we finally do pause and look at these times in the future, hindsight will most definitely be “2020.” Stay safe…and wash your hands!