Your COVID-19 Opportunity
You’d think that being quarantined at home would be every writer’s dream. We have an out to escape our day jobs that we often use as an excuse for why our book isn’t complete. We have no Margarita Mondays to attend or people to distract us. With the usual obstacles that prevent us from writing removed, we have every opportunity to prosper. Perfect, right? Well just like our current state of quarantine, it depends on how you view it.
I’d been working on a kaveman article on and off for a couple weeks pre quarantine. It was about how I grew during college and evolved while studying abroad. The more I read and wrote, edited and re-edited, the more disconnected I felt to the piece. As writers, we have to be able to distinguish an obstacle piece from an opportunity piece. What began as an opportunity to share my journey turned into an obstacle preventing me from writing articles that really work. The more time I spent on that mediocre article the less time I spent writing something that I connected with. So I abandoned the obstacle piece about growth and invested in this opportunity piece you’re currently reading, that I believe will help anyone who is in a rut as a result of the quarantine.
If you’re sitting at home without a paycheck and petrified you’re going to die from a glorified flu, you probably feel like 2020 is an obstacle. But before you assume the current state of the world is an obstacle let me share with you the story of my friend Elise and her opportunity of a lifetime.
About 6 months ago, Elise left Long Island to teach in China. From educating germy kids to exploring a new city, Elise was constantly around other people. On top of that she lived in an apartment building with 36 floors. When Chinese New Year arrived in January, Elise got time off from work. She wasn’t going to travel, but when she noticed most of her coworkers were, she went for it. So she packed her bags and left her new home, Wuhan.
The day after Elise left Wuhan, the city completely quarantined. No one in or out. For those who don’t know, Wuhan is where the corona virus originated. Elise was left homeless which to most would be considered an enormous obstacle. Looking at the glass half full, Elise took this opportunity to travel. Before the pandemic exploded and traveling became socially irresponsible, Elise went to Vietnam, Thailand, and Indonesia until she was finally quarantined in Malaysia.
Instead of focusing on the obstacle of being homeless, she focused on the opportunity to travel to places she perhaps never would have. As she explored, she grew spiritually, relying on the kindness of others for places to stay and the grace of God to remain healthy. Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot to mention, she’s perfectly healthy. I guess I was so focused on her opportunity that I neglected to remember the obstacle that is the virus ;)
As spiritual people, we attribute her well-being to God. But religious or not, traveling or not, sick or not, what you have right now is an opportunity, not an obstacle and the sooner you accept this the sooner you will begin to grow during this time.
A global pandemic
How this time in quarantine is going to go is entirely up to you and your mindset. Will you choose to see the opportunities or the obstacles? Perhaps you want to focus on the opportunities but the negativity in the world is too much to overcome.
I have news for you. There is always a opportunity to focus on and an obstacle to tune out. Period.
Speaking of news, let’s use the media as an example. If you’re a positive hippie freak like me, the news of the 21st Century proves an enormous obstacle. Let’s face it, pandemic or not, the news is a constant source of negativity. But if we regard the news as an opportunity for education as opposed to an obstacle blocking our happiness, we enter a state of humility and gratitude.
LET'S TRY IT!
Instead of focusing on how many people are dying, focus on how many people are in the world. Tons! The media is great at informing us of the hundreds of people dying from this virus yet they neglect to remind us that people die every day from other causes. Instead of thinking, “Every time I turn on the news I become more worried and afraid of this virus,” think, “Every time I turn on the news I’m grateful to be alive in the 21st Century where the resources of information are endless.” We’re not living during the Black Plague. We're living with advanced technology that is helping us combat this pandemic faster than ever before. The information regarding preventative care and spotting the symptoms is endless! We are not living in the dark and for that we should be grateful. Sure the news can be scary, but it can also be informative and helpful. So appreciate it as such and when you feel it is more of an obstacle than an opportunity, shut it off.
This is your opportunity to…
watch black and white movies, write letters, call your grandparents (I promise I will, mom), start a Netflix series, read, walk, write, draw, watch a documentary, do yoga on your front lawn, sing, laugh, cry, cook, create DIY spa day masterpieces, clean out your closet, clean up your social media accounts, finally create a LinkedIn (I said I would, Hayley) vacuum your home for your parents, craft, eat, sleep, knit, figure out how to play Sudoku (still confuses me).
You get the idea.
As powerful as we are together, we often underestimate our potential alone. Now is the time to focus on you. Everyday you’re on the move and every day there are things you HAVE to do. Now is the time to focus on all the "shoulds" and things you said you'd get to.
So you've made it to the end of my opportunity piece yet you're unconvinced. So let's say it one more time for the people in the back,"We're quarantined in the 21st Century!" We have Netflix, TikToc, Dinsey Plus (just in time), Instagram and many more technologies to keep us occupied. When you are beginning to feel down, humble yourself with the thought of how mad people would have gone had this happened in the 1800's, or hell, the 80's.
When the virus first hit America, I admit I had a breakdown. I began having flashbacks of my life post Hurricane Sandy and how miserable it was. I began to think, "I cannot go through anything like that again." Then I remembered that it is because I experienced Sandy that I know I can survive this. Hurricane Sandy once felt like an obstacle, but now I am sure it was an opportunity to prepare for quarantine.
So what will it be? What does the next couple weeks to months look like? An obstacle or an opportunity? While the government can place restrictions on our traveling and socializing, it's on us to decide if we will just survive or thrive. Let your faith be greater than your fear. Happy Quarantining!