“It’s okay to pause and dream of success, as long as you don’t lose sight of the goal and what it takes to get there.”
Those were words from one of the best coaches I ever played for, spoken to his team back in the fall of 1987. I’ve carried them ever since.
I enjoy dreaming of success. It helps me visualize what that looks like. I am able to then focus on what it takes to achieve those dreams.
Check In With Reality
Our immediate future appears grim. Less than a month ago a major news outlet was minimizing this pandemic, comparing it to the seasonal flu, with a few pundits outright declaring COVID-19 a hoax. Today our government is estimating as many as 200,000 deaths in our country, stated as a best case scenario.
It is perhaps time to concede that our way of life has been altered for at least the next year. Maybe longer depending upon the time required to create a successful vaccine.
I do not believe I am providing a doom and gloom forecast. It is a reality to be faced. It is a reality for us as a human race to overcome. In the same manner humanity has learned to overcome tragedies on a global scale for over a thousand years.
In the near term we will band together as a society and support the people on the front line. Our health care providers. For the rest of us, we will work to overcome the challenge of financial hardship. This is our immediate goal. To find a way to live with this disease.
Our ultimate goal is complete defeat of COVID-19. To send it to the history books as we did with smallpox. I think we can all visualize this. A hopeful return to life before.
Find a Goal Between Now and Then
This might prove a bit tougher to visualize. For me, it is learning to live with COVID-19. To live our life, albeit differently. I do not believe it is the way we are living right now. I will not allow it to be.
Today, right now, I can not just get in my car and drive to the park for a walk. I have to consider how many people might be present.
Our sporting events have been canceled, and articles now focus on the return of fall sports. I can’t help but wonder if we will be ready for a packed stadium with 90,000 fans by September. Maybe not. Another dose of reality?
I can not control the way our society will be altered in the months to come. I can merely accept what is in front of me, and learn to adapt.
This Global Pandemic Is An Opportunity
I do not allow things to define me. My career does not define me. Events, no matter the scale, do not define me. No one defines who I am. Only I do.
But I can’t simply ignore a challenge such as this and live my life as if it doesn’t exist. In the short term, this is less a challenge to overcome, and more of a challenge to adapt to. Within that vain there are opportunities.
I have been able to increase my exercise routine. Videos via YouTube help with this. I have been out on more walks in my neighborhood. I give others a wide berth when passing.
I believe in lifestyle changes. If I don’t like who I am, or the direction I am heading, I make a change. I wrote about one of my lifestyle changes back in 2004 in this article, when I gave up network news. This pandemic has not caused me to turn the television back on.
Give this a try. Turn off that television. I’m not implying you should hide your head in the sand. It’s important to remain informed. Simply change the medium. Use a smartphone, tablet, or laptop to get your news. Instead of hours of television, read to your young children. Return to those family dinners around the table. Take an evening walk.
Find a way to keep at least one of your favorite activities or hobbies in play. Perhaps on a modified scale.
I plan to return to hiking and camping in the wilderness. The national forests and parks are closed until at least May 15th. That’s okay. It is what is required. Even if they are not reopened by June, I know where to go. Where I can be responsible and maintain social distancing.
If your plans for the summer are not possible due to the presence of this virus, don’t give up. Create a new activity. Find a new hobby. Overcoming challenges in our lives sometimes are more subtle than conquering a mountain. Often it is as simple as adapting.
Accept The Coming Marathon With Creativity
I accept there are challenges ahead which I can not foresee. Some of my friends are already suffering the loss of a loved one. They are perhaps in a darkness right now where no words of wisdom can provide immediate healing.
This article is not designed to be pollyannaish. Before we ever heard the term coronavirus we confronted days where a smile or a thumbs up was not on the agenda. There are probably more of those days ahead than anyone wants to admit. But there are also days ahead full of laughter. Believe it.
During this marathon our yards will look better. Those garages are finally going to get cleaned out. At some point, probably soon, we will run out of things to do. This is when creativity is required. Don’t allow this generational event to define you. Create your own reality and live your own life.