Moving Forward Empowered
As we continue the momentum of 2020, it is time to assess our progress.
We began this year in the usual manner expecting our lives to continue with their normal patterns knowing we would adjust as needed. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit, and the world turned topsy-turvy. In the beginning, this was supposed to be a temporary blip in the usual course of life. It didn’t turn out as expected.
As the virus spread and sheltering remained in place, lives became increasingly disrupted. Our initial reaction (if we weren’t the ones infected by the virus), was, “Woe is me. Look how badly my life has been upset, my future disturbed, my education postponed, my promotion or investments stalled, and my relationships strained.” We reacted personally to the global disaster since it directly affected us.
Loneliness and Isolation
We are also in a secondary pandemic of isolation and loneliness. We have addressed some of our social needs through online meetings through Zoom, Facetime, Skype, Google Hangout, and other social media outlets, but there is no substitute for interpersonal interaction. A virtual hug is not the same as full body contact with a loved one. Vulnerable populations such as the elderly, poor, homeless, immigrant, and the mentally ill do not have the skills or access to the Internet to be able to meet with family, friends, and other loved ones. Those who live alone and who worked alone, may be unable to combat the depression and despair that comes with long-term continuing isolation. Domestic violence, suicide, physical and mental illness rise in stressful situations like sheltering and isolation. We need to be vigilant in monitoring our own emotional stress and the emotional states of those close to us so that we can offer the love, support, and compassion needed to maintain during this period.
And so, as reality has set in, so has acceptance of life as we know it. The present has changed for the indeterminate future and the time came to deal with the NOW. Facing the truth of the world-wide situation, as well as its individual effect on us, made us confront our fears, doubts, and limitations. We might be exposed to and be infected with the virus. Is this a reality I choose to accept, or do I deny it and hide from the truth? Can I control my job situation, my educational limitations, my isolation, the relationship stresses of sheltering, and the financial hardships I’m facing? If these are the facts, then what adjustments can I make to blossom during this time and overcome any limitations in the way of my development personally, professionally, and spiritually? How do I respond now?
We began to rethink our lives, discover inventive solutions to issues, reach out for help, and create networks of support. Jobs did not totally disappear, they transferred online. Work got done, supplies were found, new ways to react formed. Delivery services were expanded. Safety protocols were instituted. Education went virtual. Relationship counseling and medical services went online. Social networking in the virtual media helps dispel the distance and isolation even if it does not remedy it. It may not be the ultimate answer to loneliness, but it is a stopgap to help us cope. We met our needs in creative ways that had not been considered in the past.
Looking back over the past nine months is encouraging. Despite the devastating losses, grief, and fear flooding us, we have faced the present, found innovative solutions to overwhelming difficulties, and are continuing to support each other during massive social, economic, and personal challenges. Life continues and moves on.
The word often used during this year is “resilience.” We are flexible and resilient in the face of the incredible odds of these changing times. Although this has been a difficult year for all, most have met the challenge. We should be proud of the life that has emerged since the beginning of 2020 even if more change is needed in the future. Time has given us an opportunity to create something new and more responsive to our needs, desires, and demands. Let’s keep moving in the right direction of cooperation, collaboration, and innovation to a better world.