Making the Best of History
The thing that others will remember about us is our character through adversity
No one knows when history book worthy moments will happen during their lives. And hopefully if they do happen, they're uplifting, groundbreaking, a story of achievement.
Not a worldwide shutdown and a plague featuring political unrest matching the late 1960s.
If you're reading this, you're a part of history now. One day grandchildren and their children will read about how the world stood still for more than a year. They'll read about how many people were lost and the damage done by the disease. When they get older they'll read about the economic ramifications and the finer points of life during the shutdown.
And they'll ask you what it was like to live through it.
It's in this time you get to determine how you answer the inevitable question. The human character is often laid bare during times of adversity. You get to find out who the people around you really are. More importantly, you get to decide you are and who you're going to be going forward. You can choose to lead others through optimism and toughness, ensuring they see there will be life on the other side of this. Or you could decide not to and bring down those around you. It will be your job to explain to grandchildren what you did.
To lead with positivity in an authentic way is difficult. It requires knowing the truth of how bad something is before leading others through it, showing them what it takes to come out of the other side. It is a burden that is heavier on some days than others. Willpower is in finite supply and we have to pick and choose when we use it. Hope is an essential fuel to willpower.
Think back to examples of human hardship. When things feel bleak with no end, I think of the worst humans have survived. Anne Frank wrote, "Where there's hope, there's life. It fills us with fresh courage and makes us strong again.".
It's in human nature to survive. We aren't designed to give up and quit, no matter the circumstances. And, together with those who are committed to surviving and making it out of this with their spirit intact, we will outlast the virus and be with friends and family again.
Don't be afraid to reach out to others for support. There is a large chance they feel the same way you do. Every journey seems daunting at the beginning, but it's much easier with a team around you.
It's up to you how your story will be written from these times. I encourage you to choose to focus on character and hope and lift up those around you. It will be remembered.
In honor of the Star Trek I've been watching:
"Seize the time, live now! Make now the most precious time. Now will never come again."
Jake Smith is an engineer, son, athlete, scholar, corn chip connoisseur, lover, and "a stand up cat". You can reach him email@example.com