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Life 101: When our world slows down

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By Linda Arnold EBS CONTRIBUTOR

Remember the song, “Shout?”   

Many of us have danced to this and recall the part that goes, “A little bit softer now.  A little bit softer now.”

That’s the way our world feels.  The volume has been turned way down.  Every event is being canceled, postponed or moved to a technological connection.  The lack of external noise is providing us with ample opportunities to listen. If we only will.

The past few weeks have rocked our worlds. No behavioral shift has spread more rapidly across our planet than that caused by the COVID-19 virus. 

Your Reality Show

If you had been told a few months ago that schools, churches and many businesses are closed indefinitely — and that you’ve been ordered by the government to stay home for the most part – you would have thought it was a sci-fi fantasy.  But here it is – your personal reality show.

Many of you have more time on your hands than ever before, and some of you – healthcare workers, grocery/drug store personnel and first responders — are stretched to the max.

Now that you’ve had time to adjust to your new normal, you’re likely settling into a rhythm.  Economic stimulus efforts are on the way that will, hopefully, benefit individuals, businesses, and the stock market.  Will it be enough, though?

The Great Equalizer

Many people are hurting.  Jobs have been lost, and incomes are uncertain.  People are sick – and dying. It can be hard to listen to those “silver lining” stories when you’re suffering.  It can also be a matter of perspective, though, if you’re able to take in the bigger picture.

My observations, research and a few quotes — originally attributed to Bill Gates, although later found to be anonymous – point to the game changer COVID-19 is becoming in our lives:

  • It’s the great equalizer — regardless of our culture, occupation, financial situation or fame.
  • It’s reminding us how materialistic our society has become and how it’s the essentials—rather than the luxuries—that we truly need.
  • It’s showing us how we’ve neglected our families by forcing us back into our houses — so we can rebuild them into homes and strengthen the family unit.
  • It’s pointing out how precious our health is — and encouraging us to look at the food we eat and the way we exercise.
  • It’s reminding us we’re all connected. 
  • It’s emphasizing our true work is not our job.  That is what we do, not the reason we were created.  
  • It’s keeping our egos in check.  
  • It’s reminding us that the power of free will is in our hands.  We can choose to help each other. Or we can choose to be selfish and hoard.  
  • It’s bringing out our true colors.

Your Future Self

When you come out the other end of this pandemic, how do you want to emerge?  Maybe you’ll be more grateful to have your freedoms restored. And find you’re more resilient.  Or that you were able to reorder your priorities during this unprecedented “timeout.”

Whatever your answer, design a reverse timetable from a month out back to now.  Look at the steps you need to take each day. When you get to your future self, you’ll be able to look back to see how far you’ve come.

With the volume of our world turned down, we’re finally able to listen.  

Linda Arnold is a syndicated columnist, psychological counselor and founder of a multistate marketing company. Reader comments are welcome at linda@lindaarnold.org  or visit lindaarnold.org for information on her books.

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