April 1st, a date when the world lived through the worst joke of seeing life as they knew it turned upside down and around 180 degrees from what they knew just a few days before. The sad truth is that it was no joke. The Coronavirus has put life on hold, and for too many, the stress of this pandemic, financially and emotionally, is crushing on so many levels.
As I watch the life and death statistics from around the world scroll on the TV screen, I want to tell a story, one of hope for the future, when our old normal becomes our ‘new normal’, which can be even better than before. This can be our one chance to change the direction of our lives, making now the time of reflection as to the potential of what life could be going forward.
Soon, Holy Week will start, leading up to the most important religious holiday for many around the world, Easter, the day of ultimate sacrifice and unconditional love. I am writing this as a daughter, sister, friend, volunteer, entrepreneur, career professional, and observer and participant in this unprecedented historic event in this world and my life. I too am trying to process what my new-normal will look like, but I do know one thing, my faith is strong and unwavering.
During my shelter-in-place, I was alone with no family, but I knew they were with me, as the quiet allowed me to remember times as a young girl during the Easter holidays. Being Greek Orthodox, there are countless traditions that are honored and practiced during the Lenten season. I could hear my parents’ voices in my head, smell the incense from the numerous Church services, feel the Holy Spirit in the Communion taken, and listen to stories of generations past told around the dining room table during our family dinner with all the relatives and friends.
I began to think about the legacy that I want to leave, since it will need to be left by deed and not via a family name, since I don’t have children. I kept asking myself what I can do to show the world, ‘I was here!”. Being someone who can be creative and analytical, I wanted to share two definitive areas that I have learned from this horrific time during the pandemic, as well as how to proceed with confidence into this new chapter as the world heals.
First, we can all be reminded of 1.) our mortality, 2.) to reach out to those you love, 3.) there is a ‘bucket list’ of items that needs to be dusted off, 4.) that water and air can actually be clean, 5.) being quiet can really calm one’s mind, 6.) simple things in life are still great, 7.) we have so many blessings and giving back is required, 8.) caring for our neighbors feels good, 9.) planning for the future is a priority, and 10.) God is great!
Second, as a career professional in Wealth Management, everybody needs to put a financial plan in place for their family, combined with establishing all those legal documents such as a Will and Powers of Attorney. I feel strongly that everyone needs to document the stories of their family, either via tape or in writings, so that future generations can know their history. My father taped everything, so that is I what I remember from my childhood. Also, as a result of this very challenging time, to continue those behavioral changes that were made, such as turning the electronics off and going for walks, having family dinners, and reaching out to friends in need.
We learned in real-time that life can change before our eyes, so there can’t be any regrets. Doing those things that just seem like a dream and out of reach need to be brought into the present. If not now, when! It is a saying, but it is true, life is short. Leaving a legacy of good deeds and kind words really can be enough. I hope to try to exceed my own expectations for making this world a better place, and that humanity will know, I was here!