The year 2020 has had a drastic effect on everything we do, from how we educate our youth to how we shop for groceries; nothing is business as usual. Families, businesses, and organizations around the world have had to constantly reset and adjust to a world that seems to change by the minute. As a society we keep hearing phrases like “this is the new normal” or “once we are post pandemic,” but none of those help us navigate our current day to day.
I cringe every time I hear one of these pandemic phrases because they hold such little value. Life has always been full of unpredictable changes and learning to adapt to that is not a new concept. I understand that the speed of this all has a different pace and it is rare that the changes we do face have such a drastic effect on our everyday lives. These times are tough and the stress that many parents, teachers, business owners, charities, and employees are feeling has been immense. I feel for the single parent that has to get to work and somehow be home to supervise remote learning and the business owner who for the first time in 30 years has had to lay off an employee or even worse close their doors for good. There are moms and dads who are beyond stressed just trying to help their child get through one day of remote learning. There are the teachers and administration that are in constant meetings and are working overtime to stay on top of the new changes and workload. There are families struggling to make ends meet, business fighting to stay alive, and hospital employees putting themselves and their families at risk. I hear all about this, I see it with my own eyes, and I live some of it myself, as we all do.
One thing I decided early on was that I was not going to dig my heels in and fight every change coming my way. I was one hundred percent set on embracing the fact that my attitude and mentality towards all of this was going to dictate whether I survived or thrived during these “unprecedented times.” Just kidding, that phrase is on my list too. It may sound harsh and it may sound naïve, but as aware as I am of all the problems in the world, I am also aware that my life, my story, is happening to me right now. It is not going to halt until a vaccine is found and most certainly is not going to guarantee that I will get a certain amount of time to live once this is over. My time is now, my life is happening, the world is spinning, the sun keeps rising and setting and I am determined to make the most of all of it.
I choose to see the challenges that I have faced and will continue to face, such as running a business ,as a push to try some new things and a requirement to be innovative and creative in ways I have never been before. I remind myself that the extra time I am getting to give my kids hugs while I am on a call or even just knowing that they are home safe will end soon. Instead of living an overscheduled life, I have been able to find more work life balance due to the lack of kid’s activities and social obligations. I enjoy things I have not had the opportunity to do pre-COVID and I know that too, will soon end. I have used this time to think about what I value, what I should prioritize going forward, what I spend money on that may not be super necessary and have used the time from a lack of not having to commute to earn extra credentials and start a new branch of our business.
I could list plenty of current life positives, but it is a choice that I make to do so. I am not different than anyone in terms of the stress or challenges and struggles this has brought on. I have gotten frustrated, cried, had way too many zoom meetings in pajama pants, learned to own my excuses, and faced plenty of new challenges along the way. I count my blessings daily and while my stress is all relative to my situation, I always remind myself of how that compares to other people and situations in the world. I see the negatives as many of us do; I am just choosing to remind myself daily that I get to decide whether I thrive or just survive.