March 29, 2020
We all have a story. It involves where we live, who we interact with, how we spend our time, and what happens to us. Everyone has big events in their life…where you go to college, the choice of a life partner, a career path, the birth of a child, an activity you pursue with your whole heart (like swimming for many of you), … these are life changing events. The substance of each of our stories is written within the framework of these events.
This period, the COVID-19 period, is now a part of all our stories. The period when everything changed. Where we stopped going to school, where we stopped face to face interactions with others, where our activities disappeared, where the structure of our lives became something that we could not have imagined just a few weeks before.
Different than many big events in a life that are shared with a limited number of people, like the birth of a child or the choice of a college, everyone is experiencing this change at the same time. Kenya’s elite high-altitude running training camps have disbanded. All track workouts have been prohibited. Who would have thought we would have so much in common with people whose lives previously had been so different than ours? India has nation-wide 21-day lockdown for it’s 1.3 billion citizens. While our change has not been as dramatic as India’s yet, we have something more in common than we did a few weeks ago.
That is part of our story. The other part is how we react to what happens to us.
Many of our OSHY family have had a chance to visit and work with Will Steger in Ely, MN. Will is the world’s foremost living polar explorer. On Will’s trans-Antarctic expedition in 1989-90 he became tent-bound for a week in a blizzard. With more idle time than anticipated (sound familiar) Will sketched the plans for main building of the Steger Wilderness Center (pictured). How Will chose to deal with what happened to him changed the course of his life.
How is your story going to be changed by this period? And in what direction?
It is easy to think about the things that we have lost – in-person school, time with friends, swimming. But we have gain things too. Most of us have more time. Our lives don’t seem so rushed. We have gained a different perspective. We look at everything differently than we did a few weeks ago. We have gained appreciation for things that we took for granted. Ironically, alone we have gained a connection to each other through mutual experience.
What else have you gained?
Short term losses can be long term gains too. The disappointment of feeling like you missed out can be tremendous motivation. In the past, now, and in the future the key to accomplishment is preparation and the key to preparation is motivation. Coins have two sides. On one side of the coin is the sting of losing an opportunity. The other side is the will, the drive, the desire to regain it.
If you use what you have gained from this period, you can emerge having moved forward. If you can’t find things that you have gained or are unwilling to use that which you have gained, you won’t move forward.
This is a period that will change lives. Find the value and the gains and use them to write your story and the direction will be positive.