When news about Covid-19 first came out you were told that you needed to stay home for about two weeks. “This could be cool” you thought “it’s like a mandatory two week vacation”. So you had pie for dinner, let the kids stay up late, and binged out on Netflix. Ever since then you’ve heard conflicting accounts of when life will get back to normal. You’ve heard that it’ll be a couple months, things will be open by Easter, not until Fall, etc. Now it’s May and you’re realizing this is taking a lot longer to get back to normal than you thought it’d be. And now that things are opening up you’re realizing that life isn’t going back to normal like you thought. There’s no dining in, no movie theaters, there are big lines to get into hardware stores, etc. You’re seeing that you’re in this for the long haul and it’s not as romantic as you thought it might be. Yep, the honeymoon is wearing off.
Now That Covid is Settling In
That feeling you’re having is called despair. It sounds so dramatic because you don’t feel like someone in a life threatening situation who has given up or anything, but it’s true. You’re feeling despair. Despair occurs when you realize circumstances are outside of your control and you have no other choice but to cope with it. This can be small, like in college when you got that grade you didn’t want. Or it can be something big like when you lose your job and you realize you’re life is going to change for a while until you find a new one.
Something you may not realize is that everything that is occurring in our life right now is much, much bigger than losing your job. The way you communicate with your family has changed, the way you get together with friends has changed, your daily schedule has changed, There’s no end in sight for all these changes. We’re all going through it but that doesn’t make it any easier. So what do you do now that the honeymoon is over and you’re realizing Covid is going to change your world for a lot longer than you thought? You move forward – deliberately.
Moving Forward in a Covid World
A great example of moving forward deliberately is Viktor Frankl. Viktor’s life changed in ways beyond his control when he and his family were taken out of their home and put on a train to Dachau – a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. He survived the camp and was liberated but when he got back home, other people had moved into his house. And because of the anti-Semitic feelings still prevalent in Germany at the time he wasn’t able to get his home back. And it was the same thing for his job. With no shelter and no money, he decided to stick around town for a while to wait for his wife and daughter, but they never returned. He knew what that meant. Homeless, no job and no family, his life was altered forever for reasons beyond his control. I won’t give up the ending of the book but during his struggle he came up with an idea. His idea was that you can overcome any ‘what’ if you have a ‘why’. And THAT is how you get through your despair around Covid.
In short, be deliberate about how you move forward. Time will pass whether you like it or not. And you’ll get along day-to-day because you have to. But be more deliberate than that. Think ahead to how you want you and your family to be different as a result of this. Give yourself a ‘why’. You’re going to be going through this time in your life, anyway. You may as well make the most of it. So think about a life skill you want to work on. Maybe you want to be more charitable and give to homeless shelters or you decide you want to support more local businesses. Maybe you want to be less judgmental so you wave or say hi to people you see on your walks. You can be more deliberate with your family, too by doing things on purpose as a family. Instead of binging on Tiger King you can watch movies with a meaning and create some conversations as a family at dinner. Or maybe you finally take the kids to touch the ocean.
You will survive through the Covid era. But aim higher. Thrive.