As the World Stands Still, Let’s Decide to Keep Living

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While the outside world stands still, I can‘t help but feel like my own life has been put on pause, too. With schools, gyms, restaurants, businesses, parks, malls, etc. closed indefinitely, how can it not feel like everything just stopped? Frozen in a moment of time that feels so still, yet also like it will last forever.

Even though we feel like our lives are on pause, they still must go on. If we have children, we still have to be parents; if we have a job, we still have to work; if we have friends, we still have to be a friend. Whether we’re sick or healthy, we still have to take care of ourselves. Just because our regular lives have currently ceased to exist, it doesn’t mean we don’t have a life. It doesn’t mean we don’t still have responsibilities, obligations, families, loved ones, and deadlines.

So as the outside world stands still, what are you going to do to keep living? To keep laughing? To keep enjoying life? Just because our circumstances have temporarily changed, do we need to stop seizing the day? Do we need to throw in the towel until we’re released from our in-home prisons? In this case, as with all, the only real prisons are in our own minds. We can hold our breath until we’re allowed to resume life as it was, or we can decide to take deep breaths and accept it as it is right now—no matter how uncomfortable that is.

As the world stands still, I’m still all of the things I was before this. I’m a mother, wife, sister, daughter, aunt, therapist, writer, friend. As so much changes, as there’s so much unknown, there’s still so much that stays familiar and the same. Even if you don’t feel like yourself, who you are never changes; your meaning and worth are always there. If not now, when will be a better time to bring forward who you are and who you want to be in this situation?

It’s hard. This is a struggle for most of us. I know some people are in really bad circumstances. I know people are anxious, annoyed, frustrated, and angry. I know people are sick and dying. I know all of these things. I cry about it when I think about it. I mourn for those who are struggling. And yet I also find happiness, tickles, smiles, joy, purpose, and love in my current circumstance. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind to say the least. I haven’t exactly been my best self all the time; but I I’ve also surprised myself by learning to deal with things in a better way.

The Coronavirus has crippled the world. But this pandemic shouldn’t change our lives, just the way we live them, whether that’s for the short term or the long term. Circumstances happen in life, and we often focus only on ourselves, our own perspective. We spend lots of time sorting things out, rather than actively living and vulnerably connecting with each other. It’s okay to admit that this is a lot for you. It’s okay to connect with one another and share your feelings; you might find some comfort in it. We think we have to just deal with what’s going on around us, just suck it up and take it. However, what’s happening now in the world is the ultimate reminder that we’re all connected to each other, and what we choose to do is going to affect us all.

One kind word will make a difference. One phone call back to someone who told you something you didn’t know how to handle at the time will make an impact. 

It’s okay to feel overwhelmed or lost right now. But don’t forget to check in with the people you love. Keep the lines of communication open. What will make the difference, as it has in many past challenges and tragedies, is how we interact with each other. Talking and listening to each other is so important, as only together will we overcome this time of hardship. Be kind and good to yourself so you can be powerful enough to inspire and motivate others. And remember, as the world stands still, keep living. As long as you’re alive, there’s always hope.

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Dr. Ilene

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