First and foremost, I hope everyone reading this post is doing well given the circumstances we face today. I’m sure you would agree these are difficult times. I think there will be more difficulties ahead for many people across this country and the world. Who knows when it will turn around and we’ll see significant declines in new cases? It’s not reasonable to make predictions when this coronavirus will pass and life returns to some sense of normalcy. Perhaps there are things we can do to make it a little easier on ourselves and for those around us.
There’s a lot of people out there hurting. I’m absolutely concerned for those who are being laid off or furloughed. Last year, results of a survey were released indicating 40% of American adults lack just $400 to pay for an unexpected bill or emergency. As more states close non-essential businesses, the importance for an emergency stash of cash becomes so more important. Sure, unemployment benefits may be available to many, however it’s not 100% of previous paychecks. For those living paycheck to paycheck, the future is more uncertain.
I’ll fill you in with what’s going on at our home front and a tough decision I have to make.
I’m incredibly grateful to be able to say our family is healthy and safe. Things have changed in our lives over the past month, but nothing in comparison to the stories we hear on the news each day.
Mrs. P2F is fortunate enough to be able to now work from home. Other workplaces are invariably going through the same transition her office did to ensure some sense of continuity. There will be bumps along the way for folks who don’t normally work from home on a regular basis, but that will smooth out in short order.
My son returned home from college and will finish his semester online. It’s nice to have him home rather than worrying about him in a confined dormitory with so many shared services. I know this is difficult for him but he has been dealing with the transition in a way that amazes me. I’m not so sure that I would react to all of this in the same way when I was his age.
I’m proud to say my daughter acted responsibly over the past two weeks out of an abundance of caution. At a high level – one of her roommates was potentially exposed. Together the household self-isolated for two weeks to ensure they didn’t have the virus and more importantly to not inadvertently spread it to more vulnerable family members. Happy to say, no one in their household became sick, but actions like those they took are the ones that can make a difference over time.
Volunteering to be curtailed.
Since retiring last year, volunteering at a nearby food pantry has been an important part of my life. I’ve been going a couple times a week as I really enjoy the company of the other wonderful volunteers and clients. Unfortunately, I need to make the difficult decision to suspend volunteering.
About a week ago I checked in with my parents and found out that local food deliveries are backed up by nearly a month as demand has sky rocketed. As they are homebound, these timely deliveries are critical for them and a month is much too long to wait.
Over the weekend, our family was able to pick up essential items and deliver them. We took every precaution we could think of to limit our exposure to them (unfortunately, you can never be absolutely certain).
I need to be as cautious as I can and limit my exposure. When I volunteer at the pantry there are times when I come in close contact with nearly 100 people over a short period of time. Now is even more important to limit that risk if I want to be there to help my parents. It’s not an easy decision. Each of us may need to weigh the desire to serve others with our own personal responsibilities to those around us.
Things you can do
During these times what can we do to support each other and make the best of the situation? I’ve put a couple of ideas together of some things you can do. I’ll also include some anecdotal ways that we’ve tried to incorporate these ideas into our lives.
Reach out to others. As we become more secluded in our homes it becomes more important to reach out and connect with others. We are inherently social creatures and isolation can really mess with us. Be creative with ways to stay in touch with those that matter to you. I tried it last week with a group of friends. We normally get together every couple weeks to share dinner and update each other on what’s going on in our lives. For me, not being able to see them for an extended period of time would be hard. Using today’s technology, we were able to have a quick skype call last week. Well… it actually lasted for close to 90 minutes and was just what I needed. This week we’ll try it again and include more of our friends located across the country. Separately, I’m hoping to connect with our good friends who are out in Colorado for an extended period. Perhaps later this week we can have a remote Irish Whiskey tasting? They’ll have their bottle(s) and we’ll have ours!
Check in on your elderly neighbors. I recommend this not only for social purposes but to make sure they’re getting the essentials they need in their isolation. As I mentioned with my parents, around here, home delivery services are overwhelmed. Many services now are scheduling delivery in three to four weeks. For those who rely on home delivery services, a month is much too long. Offer to pick up essentials and then take the necessary precautions to deliver the items safely without putting them at risk.
Create a new routine. To be voluntarily confined to home will be difficult for many. Create a new routine for your daily and weekly schedules. There are only so many shows and movies on your streaming services. Blow through them in the first week and the second week will be horrible! Mix up your activities and discover new things. One of the things I’ve added to my routine is baking cookies. Never have been a big baker but I thought they may be a tasty treat. Started two weeks ago and I’ve made a batch chocolate chip and a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip. This week the request from the family is peanut butter chocolate chip (as I write this, I’m noticing a pattern…). So far, I’m enjoying making them and eating them too.
Be kind(er). There’s lot more we can all do but being kind to each other is especially important now. We don’t know what others are personally going through at the moment. A smile, a kind word, a little more patience may not seem like much but can go a long way for someone who is emotionally stressed. Others are stressed financially. If you have the means, be a little more generous when ordering food for take-out or delivery.
Do your part. Think twice about leaving your home. Anticipate your exposure risk and who you will come into contact with going forward. It’s critically important to remember that while you may not show any signs of the virus, you could still be a carrier and infect others around you including the elderly and those with compromising health issues.
I realize this post has been a little all over the place, but that’s kind of how it is right now. I haven’t written about the financial side of this and quite frankly that’s not where my head is at the moment. Perhaps later this week I’ll share the couple of things I’ve done with investments since the beginning of the month but for now I think I’ll close out.
Please be safe and stay distant from others for the foreseeable future. Realize that you could potentially risk exposing someone close to you that may not fare so well. Your exposure could potentially put one of our critically needed health care workers at risk. Let’s not kid ourselves, this will be difficult but working together we can get through it together.
What are your thoughts and concerns? How have you risen to the challenge? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Thanks for stopping by.
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