While many businesses large and small are struggling, I imagine that Netflix, Hulu and Disney+ and subscribing new customers as closures and social distancing are keeping folks at home. I say this because with our new subscription, I’ve started watching The Mandalorian and my wife and daughter are watching Frozen 2 on repeat.
Into the Unknown.
How appropriate. As I head into work today, I head into the unknown, as most of us do.
I stopped by our favorite local coffee shop, a small business here in Virginia Beach and picked up my usual, a large non-fat latte, and a dozen of their delicious scones for random folks working in our office today. They threw in an extra one for me (yes Karen, I am sticking to that story!)
Over the weekend, I visited several of our local Navy Exchange stores, serving our military members and families. We are more than just a store, we are here to serve our Navy and military commands around the globe. Our associates were busy stocking shelves, cleaning, greeting and helping customers who don’t have the option to stay home because their mission is to protect and defend us. Just like our nurses, fire and police officers, and other emergency personnel. Seeing how well we serve those who serve, I couldn't help but be filled with an immense sense of pride.
We shopped locally, visiting the local farmers market, just opening for the season. Local farmers who depend on every transaction to make ends meet. I went to a local Mediterranean store filled with basic staples and exotic treats, one that makes the best chicken shawarma in the area, like their mom used to make. We visited my dad, making sure that he had what he needed for a bit (including the other half of the chicken shawarma), talk a little politics, and catch up on other family news.
Takeout seemed like the right thing to, so we ordered a couple of times from local restaurants. Oh, who am I kidding, it was the same Greek place twice in a row but it is good!
Our daughter, concerned for the homeless that could easily be lost with all going on today, insisted that we replenish our supply of “Believer Kits”, which she started building a year ago for a school project on sustainability. She chose to work on sustaining “hope” by building these care packages that we hand out containing emergency supplies, food and water, and a few “treats”, including a note from her reminding each person not to give up hope, that someone in the world believes in them.
My daughter is adjusting to virtual school days and life without friends around. The level of communication and flexibility from the teachers at Tallwood High School, like I imagine many schools around the country is really inspiring right now. Many are likely worried about their own health and wellness, their financial health, yet each post and email promoting pride, agility, and even without face-to-face is a constant reminder to students that “we’ve got this!” My wife suggested a book this weekend, The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday. I listened to the audio book version. Twice. This particular passage struck a cord and seems to define where we all are today:
“Sometimes when we are personally stuck with some intractable or impossible problem, one of the best ways to create opportunities or new avenues for movement is to think: If I can’t solve this for myself, how can I at least make this better for other people? Take it for granted, for a second, that there is nothing else in it for us, nothing we can do for ourselves. How can we use this situation to benefit others? How can we salvage some good out of this? If not for me, then for my family or the others I’m leading or those who might later find themselves in a similar situation.”
Yes, the news is bleak right now, unfortunately I looked at my 401k trend line, and every day brings a new obstacle, a more significant challenge. But at the same time, I read stories of athletes donating part of their salary to keep those employed by the stadiums that sit empty employed. Companies like LVMH that have converted two of their production lines to mass producing hand sanitizers for free. Entrepreneurs who are giving away their technologies to keep people connected. Volunteers who are shopping and running errands for those who are quarantined and/or in a high-risk category. I see my team adapting to each situation with passion and my family adapting to our new "normal" and making the best of it. So many that are looking past their own troubles and “using this situation to benefit others.”
Yes, into the unknown, but I am a believer our society and our ability to come out on the other side stronger together.
Stay safe. Wash your hands. Do some good!