I’ve spent more time on social media in the past 10 days than in the past 10 years. I confess it has done very little for my enthusiasm, motivation or equilibrium. I feel the same way about televised news.
Sure, there are the odd amusing posts that keep me chuckling. I especially liked the memes from a few mothers who suddenly found themselves homeschooling their kids – “it’s day 3 and I am still trying to figure out how to transfer this student out of my class.”
But I’m not sure the humour is enough to combat the relentless worry of the COVID-19 posts.
As a speaker who relies on events to get paid, my bookings and sales have come to a screeching halt. A week ago, I still had online consulting and coaching practices, so I figured that would help weather the storm. But this week, those clients are beginning to feel overwhelmed by kids and working from home, and they’re postponing as well.
It can be tough to combat the feelings of uncertainty that plague these days. How will we pay the mortgage? How will the world (and our family) recover from such catastrophic restrictions? How long can this last?
Anxiety is spreading. Yet, when I think about it, all this uncertainty existed before the virus arrived.
We’ve been coping with hostility, resentment and righteous indignation for quite awhile. Blockades over pipelines were shutting down supply chains. Clashes over climate policies, electric cars and immunizations caused quite a few challenges. Political leaders faced protests and impeachment demands.
And then the health crisis arrived. The virus slipped easily through the front door as we argued in the back hall.
Now our news feeds are ripe with reports of selfish behaviour, social distancing, pandemics and collapsing economies. Just the same as before … only different.
History tells us that the stories we tell today will be the stories that get passed down for years to come. How proud of those stories will we be?
Sure, we’re living in unprecedented times. Perhaps that’s a good thing. Perhaps it’s exactly what we needed to shift our priorities and our energies.
Can we imagine a world post-virus?
Lives being lived in greater balance, perhaps, because we’re getting a taste of what that feels like. Now we know we can work from home, so long commutes can become a thing of the past, reducing carbon emissions by reducing unnecessary travel.
And what about embracing hobbies? How good has it felt to immerse yourself in something that wasn’t wholly devoted to creating revenue?
What if this perfect storm turns out to be a wonderful reset for all of us? Gazing through that lens, how would you view the 2020 pandemic then?
During this forced hiatus, I’m tackling projects that have been waiting for my attention for a long time. I’m finishing my seventh novel. I’m video chatting with my grand kids. Having friends for dinner over video chat. I’m finding time to read again and giving quiet contemplation to the nature of my business and how it serves others.
Naturally there are still some concern over finances. But I’m choosing to focus on what I can do rather than what I can’t. These are intentional choices in a forced sabbatical.
How will you choose to reset? How will you choose to recover?
Troy Media columnist Faith Wood is a novelist and professional speaker who focuses on helping groups and individuals navigate conflict, shift perceptions and improve communications.