It is one thing to learn a lesson from adversity, it is entirely another thing to spend time reflecting to increase wisdom. As Thomas Paine says here, trouble is a gift. It provides us the chance to find out who we are, what we are made of, and especially who we can count on. We might think we know these things about ourselves yet different types of trouble can test our resolve.
During these strange days, I have had conversations with lots of people about how they are handling it all. For many not much has changed other than not going to work in an office building. For this group their greatest revelation has been that they actually like working from home. They miss the social aspect of work yet have found other ways to interact with colleagues. They are also savoring the renewed time with their family, dinner together is a big topic and one they find they greatly enjoy.
Another group of people are finding themselves a little lost as they no longer have a job or work to do. They have been furloughed, fired, or their companies have closed until later in the year. For this group there is a great sense of loss, a feeling of irrelevance, and trouble with finding where they now fit into the world they have built. They do not bring in a paycheck so what brought them a sense of accomplishment and contribution is now nonexistent; as a result they are struggling with finding a way to understand how they are important to their life and their family. For this group being able to reflect and find a new way – a way to reinvent who they are and what they want – means searching deep within to tap into their own core values. A paycheck is not the only way to bring value in life, being without one though forces them to think long and hard about who they are and who they want to be moving forward. And how do they share these insights with the ones they love because changes in their path changes things for everyone in their household.
The final group of people are taking this time to change things in their lives. They may or may not be working, to them it doesn’t matter. They are thinking long and hard about how they want to live once their new normal comes into play. They realize life will not be what it was, so how do they want to change in order to be their true self moving forward? They are testing their own values, taking a hard look at “things” in their lives, and shaking things up to prepare a foundation for their next ten to twenty years of life. The are getting projects done, cleaning house (mentally and literally) and they are dealing with their past that they ignored and can ignore no longer.
We all fit into one or more of these groups at different stages of these days. But remember, life is not a merry-go-round, it is more like a roller coaster. Sometimes you just have to hold on and scream REALLY loud to let it all out. Sometimes you have to take a deep breath and grab the hand of the person sitting next to you and scream again followed by a burst of laughter. And when the ride is over, stand up, let your legs get back under you, then walk on to the next adventure. Usually this is a good time to sit, think, and eat ice cream with sprinkles until it melts all over your hand…think about the next ride you want to tackle or if you need to sit some more. There is no one right answer or way to handle all this, do what is best for you and your family. Just keep moving and it will all work out. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but in the end it will all work out.