UNITED STATES─I know I am not the only person who has been feeling constrained with the stay-at-home orders that have been implemented throughout our country in the past 12 weeks, if not longer. At this point it has been so long I truly cannot remember what day it is from one week to the next. I want the economy to open back up, I want us to get back to the norm, but reality is truly starting to hit me. This is our new reality, things will NEVER be the same again, so we need to prepare and acknowledge that.

I mean there are some of us who work in essential industries, some of us who have MORE THAN ONE JOB and have been working crazy, unbelievable hours the last few months out of fear of losing our job or because it’s a demanded requirement by our employers. The coronavirus has caused an unbelievable amount of death, destruction and economic punches one could never expect. Millions of Americans are currently unemployed or out of job with the potential of not having work anytime soon.

Death that might be the biggest impact of COVID-19, the number of lives lost has been in the thousands, not to mention the number of people who have contracted the virus and dealing with the unbelievable symptoms that have placed many on the verge of death, and for many, ultimately led to their death. You think oh, I’ll never get the coronavirus; I have nothing to worry about, but let me be clear, take it serious people. I have had family contract the virus, I’ve had a family member die from contracting COVID-19. I think that was the moment that the realization came front-and-center. What am I complaining about?

Yeah, I may have had to sit home a bit longer than I ever expected. I didn’t get the opportunity to socialize the way that I wanted, I didn’t get the opportunity to do things that I have normally done. However, there were far more perks than I ever imagined. I got to detox from technology. I got the opportunity to spend time with family members who I never spent time with chatting and just talking about life. I got to discover that there is SO MUCH more to life than just being out and about. This self-isolation gave me the opportunity to see life from the bigger perspective: the people in my life that I have not always said I love you, and I thank you for being that listening ear and just being there for me when I needed you most.

I heard writer Mitch Albom speaking last week and he said what I think so many Americans needed to hear, but was refusing to acknowledge: so many of us have not been DIRECTLY impacted by COVID-19. If you had to speak to a loved one on the phone who was in the midst of dying from this deadly virus, perhaps not have the opportunity to bid farewell to a family member who was all alone in the hospital during their final moments or worse losing a loved one and not being able to go to their funeral out of fear that the virus might spread, you don’t get it.

Yes, I’ve complained, I’ve heard a ton of people complain, and it just struck me, why are you complaining? Your life is not that bad, there are people who are dealing with circumstances beyond anything I can imagine: unemployed, lack of food, unable to pay bills, facing potential eviction, the list goes on and on and on. We tend to complain too much about the smaller, minor minute things. This pandemic has taught me something I never expected to learn: there is so much more to life than the things I thought mattered before this pandemic hit.

So many of us have started to realize to appreciate the things we have in life and to not take them for granted. Perspective is sometimes a difficult thing to grapple with until it slaps us directly in the face. Once it hit me in the face, it totally made sense: things can be far worse than what they are. Take a moment, breathe and understand with vigilance and resiliency you can overcome anything.