Things seemed so normal as recently as a week ago. NBA games were still going on and coronavirus was merely a looming threat, something we assumed only affected older people and those with compromised immune systems.
That’s what we knew then. What we know now is much different, but even that is not enough to make us feel good about the situation.
This post isn’t political. I don’t know if our government is doing everything it can. Also, voicing my opinion on something medically-related is futile. I don’t even know how atoms and molecules work.
If you’re looking for advice or preventative measures, I don’t have it. But the CDC has all the best answers. Click here to see what they have to say.
To me, coronavirus is a reminder to live life unapologetically. Visit the country you’ve always wanted to see, ask for the number of the person you’ve always found attractive; and most importantly, love the people in your life more than you normally would. Parents, siblings, friends. They are the most important aspect of your life.
Money. Success. Clout. Even happiness. Those things are all fluid, but your people are your people. Reach out to them for clarity and purpose.
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Humans typically don’t change until they have to, which is why people right now are running into stores to buy all the toilet paper and hand sanitizer. This virus has reminded them they’re mortal, and this has sent dizzying amounts of people running for what they perceive to be safety.
It’s hard to blame them. Fear is one of the most animal instincts we have. It keys us in to danger and anything else that threatens our existence. Feeling fearful right now doesn’t make you weak, and you’re not wrong for taking precautions with your health.
Yet once you’ve done that, breathe. I say this because almost everything to do with this virus is out of your control. Unless you work in a lab or hospital, you probably don’t have the ability to make the situation better. That’s okay, but your job now is to be mindful of your actions.
Excessive spending and hoarding only puts more strain on the financially unstable or those who were late to the party. Realize that while you have enough toothpaste for a year, someone else might not have any for next week. The same thing goes for food, bathroom-related necessities, and bottled water.
We’re okay, guys. We will get through this.
Personally, my life is a mess. I’m financially ill-prepared for this virus in every way imaginable. If I were to contract it and experience harrowing symptoms, that could very easily send me into crippling debt.
But in so many ways, I don’t care. I don’t even care if I die. That’s not to suggest that I want to; it’s only that I feel I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to do.
There isn’t a country I’m eager to visit, no girl I need to ask out, and no experience that has to happen before it’s too late.
No, I can’t predict the future. I simply made a conscious decision a few years back that I was going to do everything on the bucket list. There was no single event that changed my perspective. Rather, it was those around me, people I love falling ill or going through tough times.
Their experiences were all subtle reminders that life is so much shorter than even the cliché suggests.
I get that it can be hard to realize this. Life has a way of becoming complicated very quickly. I’ve found that the only way to resolve this is to take ownership of my life. Once I pushed past the barriers both my family and society placed in front of me, things became a little clearer.
Granted, they also became more murky. But it was MY murky. Anything negative that happened was a direct result of decisions I made. I was not under the guise of a 9-5 job or partner who forced me to revolve my life around them.
There’s certainly downsides to that way of life, but there was a romance in trying to do it all on my own. I don’t have to ever look back and wonder “what if?” Years down the line, if I’m still a failure, so be it, but I failed on my terms.
From my perspective, the only things left to do in life are make money, perhaps get married, and then basically just live out the string. None of it sounds particularly exciting, but it’s just the reality because I’m also too emotionally exhausted to go live in China again, or bound across Europe on a bike.
It’s now the time in my life where I want to give back and begin to help those coming up after me have a chance at some of the same happiness I’ve been lucky to experience.
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I’ve spent so much of the past few years pleasing only myself. Perhaps that’s just the cycle of life, the realities that being a young man comes with. But I know there’s more to me. I can impact people in a deeper way. That will mean giving up some of my boyish habits, but if it makes the world a better place, I’m all for it.
Again, I’m not going to sit here and tell people not to go buy toilet paper. If it makes them feel better, great. The problem is taking all of it means there’s nothing left for the rest of us.
It’d be like if you bought all the food in a grocery store. Sure, you’d be able to eat for years, but if it meant that no one else could eat, that would be a horrible world to live in.
It’s kind of how I see my life. If I only chase experiences that benefit me, that doesn’t do anyone else any good. And then I’ll be that guy with a surplus of unshared experiences.
I’ll equate it to money. Having a million dollars is great, but if I only spend it on myself, eventually I’ll begin to resent that money in the same way I’ll eventually resent chasing experiences that only I benefit from.
Take this virus as an opportunity to make your world better. Forget about what coronavirus is taking away. Instead focus on what this virus is trying to tell you about who you are.