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What Were We Taking for Granted?

unsplash-logoMay Lawrence

I can only imagine that many of you are, like me, taking this blessing of extra time we’ve all been given to reflect on what we are going through as a species. This situation has forced us to be more present, feel more, and ponder more. If you’re not freaking the fuck out watching the news all day, I’m guessing you’re finding a silver lining or two during this pandemic.

Many people I speak with realize they were taking so many things for granted. Not like how we miss our power for a few weeks after a hurricane or natural disaster. Some could just travel a county or two over, stay in a hotel with A/C, sit at a Starbucks for Wi-Fi and find a grocery store that is fully stocked and operational to purchase what we need. We know that power and order will be restored eventually. No matter how bad it is, we still have jobs and insurance to cover the losses. There are workarounds to those situations. 

This COVID-19 situation is different. Thank God grocery stores and restaurants are open. We have power, internet, and cable. Despite the disruption of staying in place and having to sequester ourselves, we’re doing okay-ish.  The quarantine lift date keeps getting pushed back. The cases and numbers of death keep rising. We simply don’t know what we don’t know because even those who should know don’t have the whole picture. And of course this isn’t just the U.S. The entire planet is going through some serious changes, and that raises the stakes.

Even for someone living in gratitude every day, it’s nearly impossible to discount the things I’ve taken for granted.

While there is so much chaos going on in our planet right now, the world had already reached a boiling point with tensions just about as high as they could be. Racial, global and financial tensions, in politics, in morality and in families. 

This has been a great equalizer and people are coming together in new ways. This is unprecedented on our planet. This isn’t a war or a global event brought on by greed or territory; the virus is targeting the entire world indiscriminately. We are all in this together and there is a tremendous amount of compassion, generosity, connectedness (even through social distancing), optimism,  and kindness.

I’m curious; were we simply lowering the bar on what we tolerated as far as how ugly and tense things could get? How low was too low and how long before we even recognized and paid attention to what was happening? Were we taking our standards for granted?  

We’re now forced to work remotely, school virtually, spend more time at home and self-sequester.  There was no time for a learning curve. Everyone was forced to adjust and learn Zoom and become tech-savvy in the blink of an eye. Had we grown comfortable spending so little time with our loved ones?  Had we taken for granted the simple act of playing board games, riding bikes with our kids and laughing together? Many of us are doing so much more of that that we’ve done in a long time. We’re actually enjoying each other and spending quality time together, which was way overdue.  And many are working in their pajamas.  Were we taking our limited time for granted?

Had we taken for granted that world powers control things, using our ‘that’s just the way it is’ attitude?  The more time passes, the more questions arise. What’s real? Who can we trust? Is there something going on behind the scenes while they distract us with quarantines and laws and everything else that comes with it?

These are questions no one’s been asking but should have been asking for a long time.  Let’s never again take for granted that we need to be informed and we need to research things for ourselves instead of blindly believing what is being spoon-fed to us 24-hours a day by the media. #stopwatchingthenews

Had we taken for granted that our jobs, paychecks, business and revenues would always just automatically be there? The ill effects this will have on the global economy have not even begun to come to light.  So many are struggling to make ends meet, before and because of all of this. Compassion is setting in. People are lending a helping hand to those who are struggling. Our leaders are figuring out ways to do their part and neighbors are helping neighbors.  Should this time of reflecting perhaps cause us to reconsider or start considering our financial outlook, what we need to do more of, what we can do less of and what really matters?   

How many of us took our beaches for granted? They’re always there, right?  You could take it or leave it until they say you can’t go. Then, oh man, I want to go to the beach.  The ocean heals. I couldn’t understand why they’d close them down, but then I saw picture of spring breakers who think they’re invincible proving that most beach-goers are not great at practicing social distancing and it all made sense.

Many complained about their commutes to work. Now they just make up an excuse to drive-through a Starbucks just to go for a ride and get out of the house. Did we actually find that those commutes we complained so much about (time alone, jamming to your favorite music or listening to an audio book) is something else we were taking for granted? 

Mother Earth is healing herself and the benefits of only a few weeks of this are already showing. Many were taking the health of the planet for granted as well.

What about travel?  This one is just messing with a lot of us big time.

Many took for granted the ease with which we could simply call and make an appointment at our favorite hair or nail salon, at our massage or reflexology parlor.  I know it’s only been a few weeks, but I miss them all.

How about the grandparents who have not been able to see their little ones for several weeks now? I’m particularly sorry for those who have new babies they have not been able to meet in person, hold, or cuddle.  What I can’t wait for are the reunions on the other side of this. We are going to be gathering soon and these reunions are going to be more heartwarming and more meaningful than ever. We will likely never take our family members for granted again.

Who would have ever imagined that we took our toilet paper for granted.  WTF – Seriously?!

We took our family and friends for granted, too!  It’s going to be a long time before anyone cancels plans on a friend or a party invitation, which many of us did with such ease before all of this. Many thought concerts, church, and even meeting a friend for a coffee was a given. We took all of it for granted.

We took for granted time with family members we thought would be around forever.  My heart breaks for all the lives lost. Many loved ones are still reeling with the pain and not quite sure what happened. The numbers we’re seeing are frightening, seemingly exaggerated, but the truth is they can’t hold a candle to how many lives are lost on a daily basis to cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and don’t even get me started on the sad pandemic of suicide.

Do we need a pandemic to force us to stop taking our loved ones and our lives for granted? 

Perhaps… but it’s time for a reset.

While our expiration dates come with us the day we are born, we never know when it is.  Whether by this pandemic or by a million other ways to die, the only sad thing about dying is that so many people are not living life fully. Many times, we’re already dead and don’t even know it.

Life is worth living and you have to live every minute because you simply do not know what minute is going to be your last.  Please live it to the fullest.  Make the best of every opportunity to live and dream and enjoy our loved ones and be happy, worry less and laugh more, eat more chocolate and wear the new dress, stop holding grudges and start holding your destiny in your own hands instead of leaving it up to others. 

If there’s a lesson in all of this is that life is fleeting and can change in an instant so enjoy every breath, every moment and every person you are blessed to share it with and never take your life for granted.  It is a gift.

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