We find ourselves in a new and weird environment.  The COVID 19 virus has taken away what we thought was some stability and certainty in our lives.  That’s the thing about life.  Is it really ever stable and certain?  Of course not.  We just get lulled into thinking that it is.      

If you’re over 30 just think back a bit.  We were just living our lives, minding our own business and one-day several airplanes were piloted into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.  After some time, life seemed to settle back into a predictable pattern.      

Then, you recall, 2008 Financial Melt Down occurred.  These were both tough events in our lives.  Seemingly out of the blue these things occur, though that’s never really the case.  And now, while we were all enjoying prosperity and stability, this unseen virus has disrupted the life we were getting so comfortable with.      

For those of us older than 30, there was the year of Y2K fear, the tech stock bubble financial disaster, black Monday, the Vietnam War with nationwide protests and riots, gas rationing, hostage crisis, Watergate, Korean War, World War Two, and it goes back throughout history.      

The message here is that life is ever-changing.  Sometimes changes are good and sometimes they are bad.  How we get through them depends a great deal on our perspective about life.  When we’re young, we often think that next year will be better and then the next year will be better and so on.  The truth is we decide how our year will be.      

People will look back on 2020 and say this was a horrible year and some will look back and say in spite of what happened this year changed my life for the better and was a great awakening.  We get to decide what we will make out of these tumultuous times.      

Is it hard? Yes.  Is it scary?  Yes.  Do we give in or give up?  No.  We think we plan, we do.  We weave and we bob.  Life is a  lot like sports.  Sometimes, you win and sometimes you lose, but there is always something to gain from just being in the game.  We can learn new things, improve ourselves, get a new perspective, and decide to take on new or greater challenges.      

The thing that gets in our way most of the time are the distractions.  Right now we could choose to sit and watch 18 hours of TV news every day.  We would know all of the ins and outs of the infection rates, death rates, and the virus growth curve for every city and county in America and around the world.  Is that doing us any good?  No.      

After 9/11 I started seeing many patients in my office with a new onset of depression.  The one thing they had in common was they couldn’t stop watching the news on TV.  The first treatment was to turn off the TV.  The second treatment was to take their eyes off themselves and assist someone else.  The same is true today.      

Many people need a hand.  Maybe just a smile or a phone call. Maybe a few dollars to a worthy group.  How about a donation of a pint of blood.  Any act of kindness will heal someone’s heart.  We must be vigilant to avoid getting caught up in the noise and distractions.  Focus on what we have in the moment and move forward.      

The only thing that will change our way of life is ourselves.  We will get through this and we will become better for it.  The choice is ours.  Sit down today and take a few minutes to write down all the things you are grateful for.  No matter how bad it seems, we all still have blessings in our lives.  We just need to open our eyes and look around a bit.      

This virus has shown us all that we are all truly equal.  The virus doesn’t discriminate based on where you’re from, your education level, your financial status, your race or religion.  This virus makes us realize that we are all just human.  This great leveler tells us that we get to decide what type of life we will live.  Take the gratitude list you’ve made and post it somewhere you can see every day, or carry it with you.      

When we focus on what we’re grateful for and avoid the noise of distraction, the world will be a better place.  Yes, even with viruses in it.