Today marks one month that my family shifted our schedules in order to try and “flatten the curve” to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Amidst working from home with a toddler and “splitting shifts” so to speak with my husband – who is also learning how to navigate a digital practice from home – things have been… different.
Not good or bad, just different.
During this time, my twin sister, Rebecca, and I celebrated our birthday.
I have a feeling it will be one that we always remember.
Originally, we’d planned a trip with our families on our birthday week as we usually do.
We were looking forward to spending some time together in the sunshine and attending a fun, annual wine festival in 30A – paddle boarding, checking out our favorite yoga spots, hopefully discovering a new favorite varietal (or two!), and otherwise just getting out of town for a minute.
As the beaches began to close, our trip was cancelled and our plans faded.
Sure I was disappointed, but it’s hard to get worked up about spoiled plans when so many are shouldering so much worse.
Rather than obsessing over what I couldn’t do, though, I changed my perspective. Here’s what I did instead:
I focused on reconnecting with family and friends.
I spent much more time outside.
Early morning runs became a normal thing again with bike rides nearly every afternoon.
I focused on nutrition and rekindled my love for making “healthy” versions of our favorite dishes.
I put my phone down.
I practiced gratitude. (Shout out to all of the frontline and essential workers! Stay at home moms and teachers we see you, too. The entire world has a heightened appreciation for what you do!)
I acknowledged my sadness about the current state of affairs, and then I stopped watching the news.
We knocked out projects around the house - including a playground for my daughter - because if we’re going to be stuck here, we might as well give her something to do.
I found time to read! Paint! Journal!
As is always the case, we can focus on the negative or we can focus on the positive.
During a time where our choices may feel limited, this choice remains solely ours.
Similarly, there is a trend to put off estate planning until something “bad” happens that brings its importance to light.
Sadly, though, it is sometimes too late to plan at that point; for example, if someone has become incapacitated and is no longer mentally capable of making decisions, or if someone passes intestate (without a will).
What if we shifted our viewpoint?
What if, instead of fearing estate planning and concentrating on the morbidity of it, we instead focused on all of the heartache (and hard work!) we’d be saving our families and loved ones by making these decisions in advance?
We can all agree that leaving a tidy estate for your loved ones is the best parting gift you can give.
Would viewing it as a gift rather than a chore make it more palatable?
From creating a living trust or will to dispose of your assets, to putting agents in place to assist you with medical and financial decisions, and naming who you’d like to handle your burial or cremation request - these are all decisions that someone will have to make if you don’t.
So as we continue to navigate the pandemic as best we can, and in the months to come where we will all undoubtedly be in uncharted territory, I challenge you to shift your mindset.
Seek the good. Focus on what you do have, and not what you don’t. And oh yeah, get your affairs in order and setup that estate plan if you haven’t already.
You knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?
Because even in times of uncertainty and despair, there is always, always something to be thankful for.
Amanda “Stir Crazy but Safe” Lynch Elliott