What the pandemic reveals about neglected areas of your life
This pandemic and the shutdowns and isolation resulting from it has been so hard on so many people, financially, socially, spiritually. Tough times remind us that we need to take care of things BEFORE disaster strikes.
When times are good, and we’re busy chasing money or success, many areas of our lives just flow along, and we might not notice the cracks in the foundation. But when the storm comes, suddenly we become aware of things we should have shored up. Some of the major areas of our lives that will really suffer, or be revealed by a crisis, are the following:
If you’re in a bad marriage, either because you made a poor choice, or chose a good person but didn’t bother to maintain a healthy marriage, you’re in trouble this year. I cannot imagine being stuck with someone all day, every day, when the situation is tense, or even violent. If you can get some counseling, please do. Or if you need to get OUT, because your physical health is threatened, please find a way. Reach out to friends or family.
If you’re not married and you’d like to be, this is a really tough time. Dating is practically out, and how much fun is going places to meet people in masks? Plenty of single people lead meaningful lives, but it’s good to have someone to share the good and bad times with. Those who were living in the moment, discarding “imperfect” people on a whim before the world changed are regretting it now, when they don’t have someone they can count on.
If your kids are ungrateful little brats, either because you didn’t raise them well, or were too busy chasing your version of “success” to notice, its just gotten real. Now you’ve got two more hats: Entertainment Director and Teacher. How do you like it? It’s not fun when they’re disrespectful, is it? Now you understand what the teacher was referring to. Maybe now you’ll have more sympathy for the ones who have to deal with your kids, or you could always start doing your job as a parent. Every day’s a new day!
Let’s face it – life gets busy, and maintaining a friendship is work. You talk about the need to “catch up”, but the next thing you know, a year has gone by and you still have not gotten together with that friend for a cup of coffee. (Especially this year. What’s even open?) Sometimes you literally have to put it down in your calendar, or it doesn’t happen.
If you’ve not bothered to cultivate any new friendships or nurture the ones you already have, you’re in trouble in times like these. Many people I know are depressed, and a lack of social life is partly to blame. Sometimes you just need someone other than your spouse to talk to, or whine to, even over the phone.
On the other hand, times like these make you re-evaluate who is worth your time. Some friendships are just draining. Admit it – you’re tired of providing free counseling services, or only be someone to dump on. You can’t get them on the phone when you could use some encouragement, but they expect you to be available for drive-in drama 24/7. Only you can decide if that friendship is a two-way street, or if you’re just being used. Now might be a good time to cut the cord, gently. You have a built-in excuse.
If you never get off the couch, the chickens are really coming home to roost this year. I’m not a doctor, but from what we all hear and read, having preexisting conditions is a big factor in Covid survival. Sometimes you’ve inherited things that aren’t your fault, but more often, your own neglect of your health is the major factor.
I’m not judging – I have the palate of an eight year-old. I totally understand. I get paid to read and talk. I could sit on my butt all day, and I’d have an excuse. And I rarely sleep well. Getting up at 2 AM for 20 years doesn’t look good on the actuary tables. Just sayin’. (I’ve checked) Lack of restful, restorative sleep and too much sugar will catch up with me eventually, (maybe in the next pandemic). In the meantime, at least I walk about an hour every day. I’m sure that helped when I got Covid.
Neglecting your health is a huge factor in life generally, and will catch up with you sooner or later. If Covid didn’t get you this time, something that comes around next time might. We’re all gonna die, but how about feeling better while you’re here? Stop smoking, don’t drink too much, no street drugs, (even legal ones), get off the couch, and even if you’re stuck indoors most of the time, you’ll feel better.
If you’re in financial straits because you’ve been living beyond your means, or even within your means at the moment, with no reserve, you’re in trouble now. Over extended, over leveraged, credit cards maxed out, huge car note, no savings…this is all coming home to roost now, and it’s not pretty. We’ve all heard experts say that you should have 3-6 months’ living expenses saved, but sadly most people don’t. If you did, you’d be in fairly good shape now, or at least not panicked. There will be foreclosures, evictions, repossessions. They’ve already started. A lesson for the future when things get back to anything resembling “normal”.
Frankly this should be Number One, because if you wait until a crisis to look for God, you’ll find Him, but wouldn’t it have been better if you’d had the spiritual muscle ahead of time? God is doing something with this situation, pruning us in some way, hopefully making us appreciate what really matters, and discarding the rest. I completely believe that, and although my husband and I have also been affected by this virus, physically and financially, we know that God’s still on the throne. He won’t let us go hungry.
Although God is always patient with us, waiting until the balloon goes up is not the best time to get serious about Him. You need that strength, lack of fear, and solid belief to get your through things like this. A church family can also be a huge help in tough times.
Some people may have to redefine what constitutes a “need” versus a “want” at this time, but I promise, God will not let you go hungry. That doesn’t mean you won’t lose your car with that $800 monthly payment, or maybe even have to move, but you won’t starve, I promise. You might have to cut back, give up cable and the silly luxuries that many in the world can only dream about, but you’ll survive. Resilient people always find a way. Have you noticed that?
Anyone who honestly believed politicians held the solution to anything surely knows better by now, right? They do what’s best for THEM, politically. Period. Most politicians have no leadership skills, and no ability to make decisions. They’re politicians, not problem solvers. If you haven’t paid much attention to these clowns before this crisis, hopeful you are doing so now. When the rubber meets the road we start to realize how useless some of these people really are.
God always has the answers. He can be trusted to never leave you. Politicians will forget your name until the next election.
Bottom line: Don’t neglect the most important areas of your life. Make the effort to maintain your marriage, family, friendships, health, and most importantly you spiritual life, and you’ll weather the storms of life much better.
This is a very thought provoking piece. It’s a n excellent summary of what’s really important: your marriage and family, your real friends, your health and your faith. Everything and everyone else that may turn your head is merely a passing fancy not worth a single thought.
Thank you for reminding us of the important things.
Thanks! Coming from you, especially, that’s quite a compliment.