This is going to be a challenging blog topic to write. In a world where people are self-isolating against their will, it is hard to remember that this too will pass. We should be using this time to let stuff go, dusting ourselves off, and making the next step. Far too many of us are looking at how we got here rather than were we need to get to. I am not saying that history doesn’t matter. It does. It only matters if we learn from it. We don’t seem to do that very well.
When I returned from a business trip in late March, a very abrupt CBSA agent instructed me that I was to self-quarantine for 14 days. To some degree, it was easier for me because we live in the country. I never realized how difficult it can be to stay put. Most of us are social creatures to some degree. I do very well alone. I can walk a mile before I see the nearest house. Some days, it is like I am all alone on the planet.
A global pandemic is not a surprise or shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. As human beings, we have lived through plagues, pestilence, and famine to name a few. History is rife with events that we appear to ignore. It isn’t so long ago that Polio, Scarlet Fever, Diphtheria, and Measles were the scourge that we were told to look out for. There were other diseases that are making a comeback that we thought had been eradicated. Covid-19 is just another one of many diseases that we don’t have an answer for.
There are no do-overs. Yesterday is only relevant to today, when and if you are willing to learn from the experience. Today is a new day with a new set of challenges. To quote my grandmother, “get on with it. Life isn’t about you. It is about what you learn from it.” Depending on where you live, the lessons of yesterday have spawned stay at home requests, social distancing, and face masks. We have been asked to limit our exposure to the virus by staying away from other people as much as possible. It isn’t so much so that we can prevent ourselves from getting the virus but to protect those among us who are the most vulnerable. All the diseases of the past taught us this. Nobody says it will be easy. Just that it needs to be done.
I know it is hard. No one promised easy. In a world, where we expect instant gratification, it is hard to remember that it all starts with us. Individually, we get to decide whether or not today will be a good day or a bad day. Life tends to hand us our expectations. If it is a good day, awesome. If it is a bad, get back up and get moving. The only person who can make the difference is you.
Let’s do a quick inventory of yesterday and then let it go.
- When could you have stayed home? Who did you put at risk today? It is a simple question. Can you answer it? Was it you? Was it a family member? Was it a stranger?
- When could you have stepped up? Did you step up today? If yes, my gratitude. If no, why didn’t you? Did you call your parents? If you can call your parents, you should consider yourself lucky?
- When could you have lived the minute that you were in with joy and gratitude rather than in anger and regret? We all have times when getting back up was so tough that we almost gave up. We are human beings. Some of us are on a wilder emotional roller coaster than others. One lesson that I have learned is that anger and regret create a toxic present. I can remember my mother saying ‘you are here, aren’t you?”
- When could you have used a single minute to be a genuinely better person? Could you have let the elder behind you in line at the grocery store go first? Could you have purchased just 1 of something instead of everything on the shelf? Did you social distance? Could you have left your adult children at home for the Costco run? The list of people supporting our nations is enormous, you must say thank you to every essential worker regardless of where they are. There are many of them out there who are doing jobs that the rest of us can’t or won’t. It only takes a minute.
My Rule 12 Challenge for you:
- Give yourself permission to let go of the past. It will do you no good to hang onto it. When the world ramps up again, it won’t be normal. It will be normal but different. Let it go. Andrew Cuomo says it best. “We need to learn from the events of the last 6 months. We need to re-imagine the future. We need to make it better. ” If you let go of yesterday. you feel the peace in your core. You will know that you have become right with yourself.
- Apologize, if you must. If you have someone that you owe an apology to, apologize. They aren’t obligated to accept it. You will have done right and truthfully that is all that matters.
- Make it right, if you can. It isn’t often we can make things 100% right. If we can move the needle even one percentage point, we have done more today than we did yesterday.
- Be the best you that you can be every minute of every day. Life isn’t about success of others. Life is about living as the best version of you that you can be.
Give yourself permission to move on and become a better you. Looking backwards has never made anything better. All it means is that you are trying to reverse through life. Life doesn’t work that way. You can either participate willingly or you can let it happen to you. Own it. Find your spin. Prepare to get back up. Life moves at the same rate for us all. It is precious and we should leverage every minute of every day.
Have an absolutely amazing week. Be safe. You matter.
Quotes of the Week
“Try not. Do. Or, do not. There is no try.” Yoda
“This minute is all we have. Today will never come again. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow might never be.” – Sandra Hoskins
“No matter what life throws at you, never stop living it. Obstacles are meant to be conquered” – Edmond Mbiaka