What to Carry On
The Moment We Hoped For...
For some of us living in this world, this is not our first rodeo in regards to challenges; just a first to this degree of difficulty. But all things pass, as this too will, given time. Therefore, as we come out of this, we must take the moment to decide what to carry on from this moment in time, so that we can become better than before.
Learning New Things
IF there is a truth to be told from this, it's that we should use this time to learn new things as what we carry forward. Here are some things to take into the future:
- Learning a new instrument. In my case, I'm learning to play the piano. It's good to learn something new while you are going through life. This new outlet could be of use to not only relieve stress and anxiety, but act as a means of expression and possibly open up new career paths. It doesn't have to be the piano. For some, picking up the guitar or the even a harmonica can be a new experience worth pursuing. You will need some guidance during this process, so I recommend this app to get started.
- Learning new languages. If the travel bug is getting to you, the best way to beat that while waiting is learning new languages. Sure, you can still travel the world once things get back to a better state, but the journey is much more enjoyable if the places you go to can understand you when you are there. You will be amazed at what you will know when you speak the people's language. Now, getting all the latest lingo in the land you plan to travel towards will be a challenge, so start with the simple things: "Where is [insert place]?," "How much does this cost?," "Please," "Thank You," "Hello," and "Goodbye." There are more things to learn when taking up a language, such as addressing your name, but these are a great start.
- Take up courses/skills. and CourseraKhan Academy are great starts if you want to learn a thing or two, as I have learned a thing or two from them. There are other locations and colleges that offer classes, courses and certifications that can help expand your talents and abilities to new heights. It's not limited to just these two that I mention; seek the best methods that are right for you and utilize them. I also recommend going to Employment Opportunity Centers, like NCWorks here in North Carolina...once things are more normalized. For now, utilize their Virtual Recruiter if you are able.
- Acquire new, refreshing hobbies. Another appreciation that I have found through this is the ability to have devotional moments; time set aside each day to not only show my gratitude for each day bringing us closer to passing over this challenge, but also to the possibility of life being better, God Willing. Are you taking that same time to be grateful while being humble over this situation? It's understandable to be frustrated and want to put this behind us, but don't just, as they say, toss the baby with the bathwater. There IS some goodness in all of this; families are closer together, communities are capable of caring for one another, our economy is struggling but will survive as the people survive (so no IMMEDIATE need to rush).
Better Planning Habits
"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."
Truer words have never been spoken, especially in times like these. That does not mean one should be discouraged; quite the opposite. This is a golden opportunity to prioritize and finalize any plans we can make for the future, as well as getting into the habits of preparing for not only our goals in life, but also on what you would need to do the moment you are past them.
This is where writing down goals and target dates can come in handy. Having a goal is great and is encouraged, but not setting reasonable timelines to complete that goal means your efforts are not focused; in other words, there's no sense of necessary urgency. I say necessary in that not everything needs to be done right then, there, and a top priority. Some things do, such as paying bills on time, reducing debt/credit/loans, and personal/professional goals. The mistake people tend to make, myself chief among them, is that we want to give everything the top priority, and thus nothing gets done. You also get lost and confused as to where to start.
Simple solution: Start with things you can resolve immediately; work outward. You can better yourself with cleaning habits, organization improvements, and others. Then work on healthy cooking and exercise, then focus on getting closer to family; whatever is the immediate priority, tend to that first and get a sense of stabilization in that regard. Then branch outward towards other goals you have in mind; better home, stronger wealth portfolio, successful entrepreneurship, community foundational building, and others. This only works with planning and preparation; so get into that habit now.
Financial and Physical Fitness
Finance is also going to be a big changer in our lifetimes as well. As we have seen banks essentially give money to the top instead of the rest of us, we'll have to be better stewards of how we handle our finances, start with some planning in this as well.
It is good to note that planning like this not only doesn't have to be grandiose, like a stock portfolio or an estate plan...yet...but it can be just a means of breaking down expenses and understanding where your source(s) of income come from. That's a budget by the way. Not what you have to cut out or do away with, but an assessment of incomes and expenses. I have an article that better details the financial side of this little bit yet it focuses more on getting out of debt, right here.
More than Just Our Wallets...
While we are working our regimen financially, we must also workout our physical health. This crisis has shown the many deficiencies in our cultures in terms of our physical fitness and how we handle what we eat as well as how we exercise. Eating out can get expensive, so learning to cook at home not only curbs that notion, but also works in place a means to better control how we prepare our meals. We should strive to also set time to exercise and watch not only our caloric intake, but also other health concerns, such as blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and stressors in our lives. Though we may not have much control over our living situation, we can always improve our health and way of living. That's only a simple choice of deliberate action to live a better life; starting with health.
Having these things in effect working at the same time is vital to being able to get past this crisis better than when we started, but still boils down to effort! And while the equity of effort isn't cheap, the return on the investment of effort is rewarding infinitely fold.
Learning to Cook
This may be the game changer in the long run; but it would also become necessary if we are to survive. Learning to cook for yourself and family members while being conscious of what you are cooking can not only save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars in the long run, it also improves a new skill that you can take with you, gives you a sense of planning, makes you financially responsible, and makes you health-conscious all at once. And the funny thing is, Mom, Dad, and the Grandparents have LONG practiced this tradition at home for generations! We can carry this onward and it would be a benefit that will never fade with time.
This does not mean do not go out to eat; it's the opposite. Instead of going out a MAJORITY of the time, go out on occasion or when the occasion is right. Make going out that much more memorable and also make the meals at home more enjoyable. This gives us a much more rounded and grounded approach to life in that we don't always need everything to be an instant convenience, but we shouldn't forsake trips with family and friends out on the town.
Finally, Learning the Lessons of this Moment Going Forward
Last, and most certainly not least, is the simple fact that there will always be lessons to learn from any situation; whatever does not kill you, should make you stronger. This is yet a moment that not only can teach us valuable truths about our current circumstances, but priorities and problems that must be addressed to prevent another tragedy of this nature going forward.
What Brought Us Here?
Reflect while you can on things that got you to this moment:
- How aware am I of my situation and the community/world that I live in?
- What was my financial structure? Did I have one?
- How is my health? My family's health?
- If I were to lose my job, how would I sustain my living conditions? (As of this article a LOT of people are realizing this predicament)
- Are there ways to make improvements to my situation?
- Can I find other methods of earning income while working at home? Are there safer means of work?
- Is the job that I have now safe and secure for me to return or do I need a new line of work?
- Have I taken what is given to me for granted?
What Can I Do Now?
Once you sorted out all the questions you are experiencing and going through, the next order of business is coming up with a strategy (aka a battle plan):
- Set up several tasks that can offer improvement to your life and the lives of others in your community.
- Make dates around these tasks; understand your nature to get a task done and hold yourself accountable with a 'sense of urgency.'
- Be both diligent and deliberate in your plan to improve both your situation and your community (within the best of your ability).
- Reassess your financial standing and look for gaps that can be focused, improved, fixed and/or removed.
- Understand that the cavalry won't always come when you want it, but you still have to work on bettering your situation; for those of us that know/serve God, we're able to better weather the storms coming our way by our faith, not understand them, but weather them.
- Finally, this is not the end; not for the community, not for the region, not for the nation, not for the world, and above all, not for you. You still have much to do and much more to give that the world desperately needs.
Never has an opportunity nor a challenge of this magnitude has been in our lifetime, thus opening new possibilities that can shape the future of the world as we now know it. But to do that, we must first take the courage to stay at home and plan as well as prepare for the eventual reality of opening up again. A seed planted in the ground becomes a plant that can nurture and nourish but such preparation takes time and patience; to some, that may be too much, I understand that. But if we truly wish to become better than before, this is what we must do.
The Wrap Up!
Thank you all for reading this massive article, dear Readers. Below is a little poll I created for the purpose of seeing perspective on what we should make core improvements on, if at all. Please take the time to select an answer and then perhaps discuss this topic by leaving a comment. I look forward to hearing from all of you. Until next time, dear Reader, stay safe and sound as you strive for success!
A Poll Going Forward
What's the biggest focus the nations of the world should have going forward, after overcoming this pandemic?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Michael Rivers