On February 17th of this year, I started writing a blog post titled, “When I Grow Up, I Want to be Overwhelmed.” It started like this…
When I was a kid, the adults in my life were always asking me what I wanted to be when I grow up. I had a few go-to answers and they were a lot like most kids rattle off because it sounds cool at the time. And while they seemed to change every month, there was one thing I never said. I never said I wanted to be overwhelmed.
Yet here we are, I’m a 40-something mother of 3, self-employed and working basically every moment of my day. I don’t make time to take care of myself, don’t go on vacation, barely speak to my family and friends, complain more than I practice gratitude and just work, work, work, work. I spend too much time on my phone. I barely leave the house because I’m afraid every moment spent not doing something productive, is a moment wasted. I try to excuse it by saying that I am keeping a roof over our head and food in our mouths, but the truth is, I’m so overwhelmed I can’t breathe.
Now here we are, finishing up the first week of self-quarantine because of the COVID-19 pandemic and all I keep thinking is, what if this was the wakeup call I needed? The wakeup call we all needed?
What if we needed a reminder that we aren’t checking in with our older loved ones enough?
What if we forgot that spending time with our kids is more important than anything else?
What if we forgot how much we should respect our healthcare workers, first responders, retail workers and teachers?
What if the planet needed a break from the pollution and garbage we are dumping into our oceans?
What if our high paced, insane schedules were causing irreversible harm to our bodies?
What if we realize that there are people out there in a much worse situation….
The elderly man that can’t visit his wife at the nursing home, on their anniversary, because of the fear she may be exposed.
The son who can’t hug his mother who has stage 4 terminal cancer, for fear that he will infect her.
The dying man that can’t see his grandkids one last time because it’s too dangerous for them to travel.
The immunocompromised woman who can’t get her weekly treatments because the doctor’s office has had to reschedule all appointments for their patient’s own safety.
The mother who is trying desperately to keep up her son’s autism therapy at home, on her own, so that he doesn’t lose all that he’s learned over the past few years.
The doctors and nurses who are exposing themselves daily, in order to take care of others.
The retail worker who is working overtime to make sure the shelves are stocked and has to deal with angry customers all day long.
The person who has been told that their hours have been cut, but they can’t get unemployment because they aren’t technically laid off.
The parents who don’t know how they will feed their families because every time they go to the grocery store, the shelves are bare.
The thousands of people who lost a loved one to this illness.
What if this break from stress of everyday living is exactly what we needed to bring us back to the basics and remind us to be good human beings?
What if this was the smack in the face that we all needed to realize how precious our lives are?
What if we spend these next few weeks or months in self-quarantine, focusing on the things we should have been focusing on all along?
What if we will all come out of this with a new outlook on life?
What if we continued looking out for our elderly neighbors all the time, and not just when it’s convenient or absolutely necessary?
What if we all just turned off the news, put our devices away and connected with one another? Imagine how much you don’t know about your significant other? What you never bothered to learn about your own children?
What if we made mental notes to support those small businesses, public figures, elected officials and corporations that are looking out for everyone in this time of crisis and not just themselves?
What if this is our second chance at the life we should be living?
How will this change you?