I am the literal worst when it comes to being up-to-date on current events. I don’t watch the news. Lately not even that much tv. I think it’s just because I’ve become so possessive over my mindset and my time—probably to an extreme degree—that I find very few reasons worthy enough to take my eyes off the ball for some fleeting moment.
So on Wednesday March 11, 2020, I was still going about my usual life. Working at the office. Lunch with a friend. Making reservations at my family’s favorite place for the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day celebrations* (a holiday we observe and ALWAYS take off to spend together).
When I got home, I just so happened to decide to turn on the television. My guilty pleasure is CNN. I just love catching up on a little Anderson Cooper.
Had I heard what was going on at the time? Of course. My husband had expressed some concern. I had been sick only a couple of weeks prior following a quick trip to New York City. My staff was discussing the news more and more every day. I even joked about it at that lunch I attended, remarking on a speaking engagement that was still on the books for March that hadn’t canceled… and I certainly wasn’t going to be the one to do it.
Things became different when I turned on the news that night. I found myself thinking for the first time ‘Oh. This is actually happening.’
I immediately emailed my team to let them know they were expected to continue work from their devices at home until further notice. I tweeted the same.
It was no longer just a talking point. COVID-19 had made its way to the United States and we all need to start handling ourselves differently. Like, yesterday.
With the exception of a few walks around the neighborhood and an emergency meeting about the Coronavirus for the Central Ohio Transit Authority of which I am a board member, Vincenzo, Lucy and I have been physical distancing now for 23 days.
It’s an introvert’s dream come true to have it be socially acceptable to stay home all the time. This, I know for sure. But let’s be real: people are dying, have died, or are going to die. This is no vacation.
However, staying home is an element in which I truly thrive. For as long as it is a positive experience and I can keep the anxiety and concern for the future and health of the people I love at bay, I want to thrive.
In order to thrive, perspective needs to play a role. Perspective is everything. No matter how you’re spending the plethora of additional time you’ve gained in your life right now, I hope that perspective is something you’re gaining more of. Not less.
Every single day that I pray for the people who are sick or will be from the Coronavirus, I look at the bright side. Currently, I don’t know anyone who is sick. It’s bittersweet because there are so many people on the planet who are, and I know this won’t last. The virus is vicious and will go after anyone it so pleases.
But when I think about it coming for me, I’m not scared. I’m grateful.
I’m grateful that I was able to protect my team to the best of my abilities from getting the virus in our offices. I’m grateful that I took a chance on myself 10 years ago and became self-employed, so that I could make decisions like this for myself and the people I lead. I’m grateful to have a location-independent business. I’m grateful for a clear mindset of focusing on only the controllable that I have in front of me.
I’m grateful for freedom.
Is freedom guaranteed? Heck no. No guarantees. No expectations. But there is peace in knowing I’ve done everything I can and I continue to do that every day. Because I can.
I’m grateful for what I have been able to share with the world so far to leave it a better place, no matter what happens.
Sorry if that’s weird. And no, I’m not tryin’ to go out like this. But gratefulness is the only thing I can feel right now because it is so damn genuine. Fear is not a friend I’m trying to make right now, so I’m physical distancing from her, too.
I know that there are so many things out of my control that could completely take over—the end of my business due to the down economy, my loved ones becoming ill, me getting the virus. But you can’t put a price on the freedom I worked so hard for in my life. I continue to leverage the hell out of it, and for that I am grateful.
* Raincheck, fam!
** I use the phrase ‘physical distancing’ because I don’t love the phrase ’social distancing.’ It doesn’t really describe what we need to be doing right now to limit the possibilities of the spread of the virus and, if anything, socializing… even from afar… is a great idea to keep a positive mindset at a time like this.