What's changed, and how have you changed? Also, 7 other things worth knowing today.
My catch phrase is "Happy". It usually is in response to a store clerk or waiter as I enter their realm and they ask the standard "Hi, how are you doing today?" I reply "I'm happy". which usually garners a smile or a giggle.
Covid has created a lot of "new normals". I went from working in an office 5 days/week to splitting that between home and office. My company considers this the new normal. So no, Covid is not in the past for me. It likely never will.
Has Covid changed me? Yes. I went 10 months without seeing my best friend who lived in a senior facility which locked down. I have become more social and appreciative of time spent with friends and family.
What has convinced me to want to leave the world a better place? Getting older. Covid didn't cause this but it did make me more sensitive to the needs of others.
Catch phrase? I guess I would say Life is fragile, handle with care. Not just my own life, but those around me. I understand I am as fragile as anyone else. Being healthy means nothing since we know it can disappear in a matter of seconds.
COVID is far from over but this has become something we need to learn to live with. While it has had devastating effects on our country as a whole and many people that I know personally, my experience has been mostly positive. I didn't succumb to the doom and gloom during the lock down period and had some amazing outdoor experiences. I've changed careers as a result of the pandemic and couldn't be more happy. P.S. for what it's worth, I finally got COVID after being vaccinated and boosted. It was only a matter of time and my symptoms weren't severe.
I've also had the life experience that has changed my outlook on life. There are just too many things that used to get me wound up that aren't really that important anymore.
I guess my phrase would be "It is what it is."
Take that vacation Bill and hang in there.
My life is completely different since March is 2020 and Covid is really the underlying catalyst.
Up until the week of March 9th, I was traveling for my job every 3 weeks. In fact I was supposed to fly out that afternoon when my company canceled all non-essential travel plan. That weekend we went to my hometown for the annual St Pat’s celebration, but as event after event was canceled, things kept getting more real, or surreal. And when we got home that Sunday, we started, would would be, an eight-month stretch of our girls staying home with us while my husband and I navigated both working from home.
The following February my husband and I both got Covid, he was nearly hospitalized. And then last November my life was altered complete when my Dad got Covid and passed away in December, just 6 days shy of his 70th birthday. My life has forever been altered but at the very base now is a thought, if something is not bringing me joy, why am I doing it?
So what has all changed? Here are a few highlights in no particular order:
* After being someone who worked at only 2 different companies in a 24 year stretch, I’m on my 4th career move. I say this knowing I come from a place of privilege, but life is too short to not be happy and connected and, yes, inspired at my job.
* My husband and I are still working from home together, in the same office. And, for the most part, it works. We have our idiosyncrasies that can be annoying but we also have noise-canceling headphones. Truly though it’s a blessing.
* We got to have 8 (mostly) amazing months with our girls, at the peak of being four-year-olds, while we ‘stayed in place.’ There was much craziness and much more screen time than we ever thought we’d allow at that (or any) age. But so many amazing one-on-one moments and peaks into their learning and growing that we would have missed if they would have been at daycare. And we really started to explore nature and go on ‘adventures’ and start new family traditions.
* I lost my Daddy. Nothing prepared me for the flood of intense emotions that I still deal with: anger, grief, and profound sadness being the main ones. Every day.
* My brothers and I became really close. We reach out to each other at least 3-4 times a week. To check in, share joys, ask for support, share grief, everything.
* My family has become almost obsessed with building with Lego. We had very few sets pre-Covid. I would buy the poly bags at Target to build when I was on conference calls. Now, we are have castles and cities and space shuttles and princesses and parts of the wizarding world everywhere.
There are so many, many more things that have changed, maybe not all Covid related. For me now, it really comes down to a very basic premise (which I have modified from Marie Kondo): does this being me joy? If not, I’m changing it.
Re: your burnout. I don't believe anyone will begrudge you a weekend off. Producing a daily M-F newsletter is enough. And, take a vacation for crying out loud! It's okay. I'm a paid subscriber on my gmail account and a free subscriber on my work email. I pay for other Substack subscriptions that don't nearly produce as much as you do.
Whenever someone asks me how I am doing, I say if I was any better I wold have to be 2 people. I did contract Covid early on but was vaccinated and it was a mild case. But I did suffer a serious fall and had a concussion and broken ribs that could have (should have) killed me since oddly such a fall did kill my cousin. It has made each day special and I try to brighten everyone's day that I meet in some way through a joke, a compliment or simply thanking them for whatever job or task they do.
First, Bill, this little world of readers that you have created care about you and I am sure we all want you to bring Balance into your life.
Balance would be the key phrase that I have adopted since Covid. Running a small business (less than 20 employees) has made us realize that everyone is reconstructing their own world and finding that life/work balance is key.
Covid was our main focus in the beginning but after the vaccines and boosters came into play, we let it slip to the back burner. Today with the new variants, we are finding ourselves refocusing on Covid and trying to keep our staff and customers healthy.
My phrase that seems to resonate in many instances is "it's not who is right, it's what's right"
I don’t ever recall a period in my life in which a consistent, lingering cloud of doubt has envelope society, me, in a mist of anxiety. I have no sense of cohesiveness in America, the world, in fact, in coming to common cause on much of anything of importance. When I was a child, we were among the very first recipients of polio vaccine in America. Even at that young age, it was clear, and we were universal in our hopes, that the horror of polio would be chased out of our lives. We had no idea how it worked, why it worked but we sensed the fear in our parents, felt protected, sheltered from the demon that stalked children in the summers of my childhood.
We accepted our roles, small children, lined up, cooperating, confident. COVID seems to have unleashed irrationality, conspiracy madness, an unhinged acceptance of self-induced fear. One has to measure their words carefully, probe obliquely, bury true feelings, opinions when interacting with others. To not be circumspect when engaging others is to be drawn into a confrontation, full of negative energy, frustrated and challenged to avoid reality, discuss and exchange facts and to be categorized.
Covid is definitely not over. It ripped through our house in June and put my wife in the hospital for several days with complications. We’re back to wearing masks and being careful, but seems like we’re alone. It’s been a long haul and we were getting careless, this last episode was a wake-up call.
My life-changing episode was a stroke at 34. Fortunately the effects were limited and I’ve gotten on with life. It’s something I do think about every day and how lucky I am because it could have been so much worse. I try to advocate for stroke awareness, early treatment can make a huge difference in patient outcome so it’s critical people know what to watch for. Might make a nice PSA on Understanably!
That self check out headline really sticks in my craw. I like self check out because I don't have to stand in line. I am master of my own fate when I check myself out. To me the true problem arises when other customers bring their own incompetence to the self check out. You've probably been stuck behind somebody taking way too long at the ATM. We've had these for decades and people still can't grasp the two or three simple tasks the ATM can do. The APC at the post office was also great until people starting discovering it as a way to skip the line. So for me I don't hate self check out. I just want more of the stations so I can make a bee-line around the people staring blankly at the screen and get on with my life.
"I'm thankful for all the things I don't have!" I don't have Covid. I don't have to worry about putting food on the table. I don't have to worry about my adult children. I don't have to worry about being homeless. I don't have to worry about a major health issue. And many, many other things too numerous to mention that I'm fortunate - and lucky - enough to NOT have . . .
I wake up each and every day consciously and humbly grateful for all those things I DON'T have -- TODAY. Because -- I also realize that much of that could drastically change - TOMORROW.
The pandemic changed me. It helped clean house of the people that took my energy away. I feel a great sense of relief. Before the pandemic I was concerned about keeping all net works of friends regardless if it caused me anxiety. My social world was greater than my need for peace. Well gifts come in all different packages and the pandemic gave me the time to realize how little we have of it and what truly makes me happy are surrounding myself with those I like and some that I love. Most importantly my relationship with my now husband grew and we became so interconnected. He is truly my everything. The world is still filled with very scary things, and my greatest fear is the total lack of understanding for the people who want to take our rights away. I pray there are more of us who believe in our freedoms than those who want to control them.
I grew up in a very dysfunctional household and I know that is more common than not. The pandemic gave me the time to reflect on my personal actions that continued the dysfunction into our next families generation. I wanted to free them and stop the insanity here, let them have a different type of life not governed by our bad behaviors toward one another. So I reached out and invited everyone to a family brunch and they all came. This was last November and we were all boosted and more relaxed about covid. What that brunch did was a new start date of conduct. It has not gone smoothly, but it is moving forward. My sister and I who had not talked for the last six years and if we did talk before than it was filled with bitterness, are now slowly rebuilding a relationship. We are both very careful with our words, and subjects, but our training wheels are working. I think she has understood the idea if we stop our insanity we represent a new way of being family for all of us.
Bill, it’s good you recognize you are getting burned out, very healthy and you are saving not only yourself but understandably.com. I support you completely.
“Be where my feet are” “chasing kites and herding cats”
These are examples I use in Recovery. I am a nurse as well and have been “disabled” as a result of a breakdown helping people, loosing my home, my family, my contacts in recovery being forced hospitalized and forced to take medication that made me a zombie-because I was sticking up for people who were being marginalized and became a public nuisance..
I had to go threw it to grow from it!
Covid for me is evolving and I’m embracing how important my relationships are-hence “be where you feet are”
Need to be present if you’re going to help someone to avoid burnout self healing and self love are imparative!
My family helped me heal patiently and allowed me the space to regroup!
I have made a choice to reconnect with friendships, relationships and past conflicts to have a reconciliation.
I’m walking the walk because I advocated the talk! And when I’m wrong I promptly admit it!
It’s very cleansing..
Is Covid over? I have a story.
This month, the week of July 11th my company finally held our annual National sales meeting. It had been three years. We sent Covid tests to all attendees and asked them to test the morning of departure for the meeting. Eleven (11) people tested positive (about 250 attendees) and could not make the trip.
During the meeting we had all attendees test before coming to the day’s activities and meetings. Six (6) more tested positive the week of the meeting, so up to 17 people out of 250.
Attendees traveled home from the event on Friday the 15th. We asked everyone to test once more the following Monday, or of course if they started having symptoms.
Within 5 days of the Friday departure 35 more had tested positive. Now we were up to 45 employees out of 250 people, or almost 20% of our workforce. One of our sales managers, a late-thirties mother of two, spent two days in intensive care. She recovered thank god.
Covid, is most definitely not over
Bill, Re: burnout. I am a strong proponent of self care. I pushed myself into burnout on two occasions before it so affected my health, I had no choice but change my behavior. I became aware of the applicability of the little speech given about oxygen masks as passengers settle into their seats before takeoff on an airplane: “Attend to your own mask before your child’s.” At first blush, it appears a selfish request. It is not! By attending to your own needs first, it ensures you will have the mental and physical facilities needed to take care of your children. If you become incapacitated through lack of oxygen, you’re no use to anyone. To use another analogy: every good woodsman knows the value of a sharp ax. Taking occasional time away from the task of felling trees to sharpen the tool is not waste. Sit back (without guilt), put on your mask (metaphorical, not COVID related) and take a couple of weeks (more if you can afford it) to sharpen your ax. You’ll be stronger and cut faster and more cleanly afterward. Best regards, Jim