Rule # COVID 19- Five Lessons From an Epidemic
I have been though the typical ups and down of life that we all experience. I have failed a course, been fired multiple times, been divorced and lost at virtually every athletic endeavor possible. In short I’ve screwed up a lot. But although I have failed a lot I have learned that with each failure I gain lessons in life. And if I pay attention to the failures I can avoid the same mistakes, and find entirely new ones to make.
With COVID-19 I know I made mistakes and have a few lessons I want to pass on to my children.
- Prepare for the unexpected– I would have thought with living on the water in a hurricane zone preparation for disaster would become second nature- it wasn’t. We have quickly caught up on stables and medical supplies, but we were not prepared for a 2 week + quarantine. Going forward I don’t intend to horde or over buy- but I do intend to have at least 2 weeks worth of stables on hand all year round and not just during hurricane season.
- Limit my news watching – I’m a news junkie- watching from the most conservative to most liberal of shows to find different sides of the stories presented. But when crisis pushes this into a 24/7 multi-week event, the information becomes overload. Cable news makes us panic, and the internet makes us crazy. Things like hording toilet paper and eating fish tank cleaners of outcomes of a unlimited supply of rumors. I recommend no more than two hours of news updates even in the worse of crisis- more and the fear will become all that is left.
- When you don’t know what to do help someone- This has been a life’s mantra I have tried to teach my children, and one that I think is a cornerstone to life’s happiness. During crisis we focus inward, and worry about our own well being and security. All that inward energy wraps us in a tight ball and crushes our souls- and the souls of people around us. It is the common kindnesses of helping someone who is housebound or alone, or just being more friendly to others in everyday exchanges that will eliminate fear and uncertainty in our lives. Kindness is more addictive than COVID-19, trying to be a positive force of kindness can make you feel connected, needed and safe. Even within a “shelter in place” world, technology allows us to reach out and connect with a kind word.
- Stress makes you an asshole, stop it- As the pressures of a sustained crisis grows from days to weeks to months it is easy to let stress make us assholes. We become short with people we love, and dismissive of others reaching out to us. Its human nature to respond to stress like this, but it is the worse part of being human. I remind myself that I am dealing with people I love and care about – and fostering arguments during periods of stress hurts them the most. I get that you are stressed, but its time to “suck it up buttercup” and put on a happy face for your loved ones. At least once a day during this virus I have caught myself being an asshole – its a constant risk when under stress.
- Sweat the small stuff– The cute expression of ” Don’t sweat the small stuff, and it is all the stuff is small” says a lot about the real importance of things we worry about in our lives. But, I ask you to ignore this and remember that its the small stuff during a crisis that matters. Its the board game that you dig out and play with your kids, its the “good” bottle of wine you open at dinner to toast your spouse, and the extra kiss good night or hug that gets us all through crisis. It isn’t the big stuff that matters, that sort of takes care of itself. What matters is the little things we remember about the each other when we are most up against it. It is within these seemly small interactions that we find we can not only survive a crisis but thrive in one.
Kids this will end, and a new crisis will be facing us soon – it always does. Remember two things always from your Dad – 1. You will get through this 2. You are loved. Remembering those two things is all you really need.