Sheltered-in-place thoughts

Spending the last two weeks sheltered-in-place affords one a lot of time to think. Outside of walking the dog and the rare trip to the grocery store or Costco, I haven’t left the house. So as we enter the third week with no official end in sight, here are a few thoughts that are helping me through this period. Hopefully these can help you navigate and spend the time wisely, too.

Shared condition

When you’re spending a lot of time alone, it’s can feel like you’re the only one hunkered down at home. The reality is that we all are, or at least we all should be. You are not the only one doing it. I am, your family is, your friends are, the community at large is. It’s easy to forget that we are just one of many people who make up our community, city, state and country. Remember, you are not alone, we’re all in this together.

Alive time or dead time

The Daily Stoic sent out a great email yesterday with the subject, “Alive Time or Dead Time. What Will it Be?” It reminded me that we have a simple choice to make with our time. We can use it wisely to better ourselves, or we can waste it by being idle and worrying about things outside of our control. We can use this as an opportunity, or treat it as an obstacle. It’s really up to each of us. It’s a choice we all have to make.

So what are things you could do? Read those books you’ve been considering. Learn a new skill or hobby like cooking, a second language, handiwork, or coding. Clean-up and organize the house. Do the yard work that you’ve been putting off. Knock out a few items on the “honey-do” list. (Re)Connect with family and spend more time together at meals or playing games and cards (in other words, less time isolated on our digital devices).

Bottom line, you can turn this challenging time into an opportunity to come out the other side better and stronger than you were when it started.

Do your part

We’re all in this together. We each have to do our part if we want to slow the spread of the virus. If we all do our part by social distancing, the sooner we will get through this. The sooner life, as we know it, will return to normal. It can be tough in the moment to give in, to ignore the warnings and mandates. Don’t give in. Don’t quit. It’s important we all do our part for the benefit of the whole. Remember that what’s bad for the hive is bad for the bee.

This too, shall pass

Through my lifetime, I’ve been through a number of challenging times. Right now, this current time feels especially challenging and unique, but each of the previous ones felt the same when I was in the middle of it. The fact of the matter is that when you’re in the middle of the storm, it feels like it will never end. It feels like life will never return to normal. It will. It does, eventually. And when it does, we can look back on this like we have the others and learn from it. Hopefully, one of the lessons we’ll learn is that by putting our differences aside, by working together, by each of us doing our part, we were able to minimize the impacts and loss of life. We were able to come out stronger and better at the end of it.

Will it be easy? Of course, not. But the alternative of letting things run their natural course would be devastating. We can’t, we must not, let that happen.

Be safe. Stay strong. Listen to our government and community leaders. We’ll get through this.