Dear Future Me, Don’t Forget These COVID-19 Lessons
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Dear Future Me,
Do you remember quarantine? I mean, how could you forget?! Staying “healthy at home” and the mask mandates and most of the country shutting down there for a second. It hasn’t been the easiest year, that’s for sure.
But I know how time works. It can make us normalize the odd or make us forget/repress our past circumstances all together. It’s possible that right now you only have enough TP to get you through the rest of the week. What are you thinking?! Don’t you remember the TP shortage of 2020? Grab those coupons, my friend, and head to the store!
Or maybe yesterday you took just a smidge out of our emergency fund to pay for a night out. I’m not saying you didn’t deserve the night out. I mean, I’m still in quarantine as I write this, so I understand the need to get out and socialize! But don’t forget your emergency fund is essential too. Remember the months you spent furloughed? These have not been easy days. So, I hope by now you have the means to set aside that money and only use it when there’s an actual emergency. Three months, at least, of expenses is a good goal.
Now, listen, I don’t bring all of this up to scare you or bring back up old anxiety. I mean, hopefully this is a once in a lifetime issue. But, I’ve/we’ve learned a ton during this year and I don’t want us to forget it just because time has passed.
I don’t want us to forget those moments when money was tight but our family was all together (Every. Single. Day. Hopefully, you’re over all of their little quirks by now! I’m still working on it.)
I don’t want us to forget the cheap quarantine date nights on the patio or the blanket forts with the kids in the living room.
I don’t want us to forget George or Susan, who would fulfill our grocery pickup orders every week (They finally remembered how we like our produce packed… and they always remember to redeem our coupons!)
I don’t want us to forget the way our friends and family helped when month number two began with still no work in sight. Their generosity helped our mental state more than our financial state, I think.
I don’t want us to forget the smile on Ms. Esther’s face when we dropped off a meal and talked to her through her screen door for a while.
I don’t want us to forget how proud we were that we’d paid off so much debt last year so we didn’t have that additional burden now. Not taking that vacation was the RIGHT thing to do, even though it really stunk at the time.
I don’t want us to forget the sacrifices and changes we made to keep things as normal as possible. Can I just say… it wasn’t easy and hopefully by the time you read this we won’t be in the thick of it anymore… but we did good.
It’s easy to look back and only remember how hard it all was. It’s easy to block it all out and try to move on. But what I hope you’re doing instead is allowing this time to mold bits of our future.
Saving without hoarding or living in fear.
Accepting help without pride, but grace.
Serving others with whatever excess we’ve been blessed with (time, food, money, even just a smile).
Look back and see both the good AND the bad. Right now, I’ll be honest, I’m struggling to see more than just the bad, but I know there has been good too. Which is why I wanted to write this.
Today, if even for a moment, remember the good.
Remember the lessons we’ve learned. Remember that we didn’t fold when the trial came, but we met it head on and kept moving forward. Let these memories be a driving force to remain prepared for the unexpected while still remaining in the moment with those we love, no matter our circumstances.
Me, a 2020 Pandemic Warrior