It has been nearly two months since Ohio first enacted the stay-at-home order that originally went into effect at 11:59pm on Monday, March 23rd. During that time period, much of what was "normal life" before the outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus, ground to a halt as restaurants, theaters, salons, barbershops, and many other businesses were closed under the governor's mandate. Attending school in person was put on hold, temporarily and then for the rest of the school year. Sporting events, concerts, and theaters were all also closed. It is difficult to name a part of our every day lives that have not been impacted in a significant, material way.
Now, as businesses are slowly being allowed to re-open, and we attempt to navigate what a "new normal" may look like for each of us, I was reflecting on an article I recently read, entitled "Set Your Egg Timer to Six Months." The author of the article, in a very short, succinct essay, lays out the case that each of us essentially was an expiration date. We may not like to think about it that way, and I don't believe most (if any) of us know how long our timer has been set for, but the point he is driving home is what do we prioritize in our lives, and does our ongoing experiences as a result of the coronavirus give us an opportunity to re-evaluate our priorities?
The author cites a story from the book The Last Lecture, written by Randy Pausch, a professor who was only given six months to live after being diagnosed with cancer. In the story, he tells of picking up his nephew and niece who were kids at the time to go for a ride in his brand-new convertible, and his sister telling the kids to be extra careful not to damage, spill, or otherwise mess up the car, as kids are prone to do. While his sister is laying out the ground rules for how the kids need to behave in the car, Randy takes a can of soda and purposely dumps it into the back seat of his new car- his point being that people, and spending time with his nephew and niece, are more important than something as fleeting as a car- or any material object.
As I think about my own life and the implications of the article, my wife and I are blessed to have two sons, ages 2 and a half, and 7 months. I have heard the saying when you have kids, the days are long but the years are short. Being "stuck" at home during the quarantine with the two of them over the last couple months has made for some occasional long days, more so for my wife as she spends more hours with them during the day than I do. But one of the blessings, or silver linings of the quarantine has been the amount of time we have gotten to spend as a family together- playing outside, family dinners at home each night, walks and bike rides in our neighborhood (pulling a bike trailer with our two boys inside around West Akron has made me realize there are a LOT more hills than I thought!). Do we miss seeing our friends and extended family? Of course, and we can't wait to see them again soon, hopefully. I know that for me, this time has been a unique period to re-focus and prioritize what is most important in life.
My encouragement is that despite the difficult and uncertain times we find ourselves in, I hope that we are all able to spend time focusing on the things that matter most in our lives as best we can given our circumstances. If there is anything we can do to support and encourage you all as we continue to Move Life Forward, please reach out and know we are here to help.