It’s really none of my business, but does virus-validation depend on massive infection and death rates? Are you afraid retirement will diminish you? I know first hand that your impact reaches beyond physical mayhem. Today, with calculated caution, I thank you, dear COVID, for reawakening valued lessons I let fade.
Nearly 11 years ago I lost my husband to suicide. Suicide is almost as feared as you are—almost. The terror of coronavirus launched a highly visible, global quest for prevention, treatment and a cure. Suicide fears manifest differently, but with equal urgency—silent urgency. Suicide is usually hushed. Shrouded in shame and fearful avoidance…oh, and stigma. Lots of unspoken stigma.
Turns out pandemics and suicides both have the power to isolate. COVID isolation revived the best in me. In the safety of solitude, I grew…not by cleaning cupboards, sweeping the garage, or organizing photos—no, those projects still await. Isolation reopened the sacred. OMG, I hope it's just me…but for the love of God…I just can’t seem to hear divine wisdom while franticly grasping to control the world. Or while distracting myself with busy, busy, busy stuff. Or while defiantly resisting unwelcome realities. Wish I was more evolved than this…but I can only hear 'be-still-and-know-wisdom' when I’m on-my-knees-paralyzed. Paralyzed in fear and/or uncertainty. My husband’s suicide paralyzed me. Gradually I learned to surrender false feelings of control. Anguish quelled when I learned to accept…and adjust. Accept. And. Adjust. Over and over… Accept. And. Adjust.
As the years passed, healing grew…and so did a false sense of control. I was shrinking back into the very trap grief taught me to reject. I returned to self-validation via seemingly measurable stuff like external productivity and shiny, trophy-equivalent thingys… Then—POW!—pandemic-induced uncertainty re-paralyzed me. Fear forced me to enroll in a COVID version of: Life-Enhancement-&-Prioritization-101. COVID: You. Have. Impact. I can’t be the only one gobsmacked with the ol' 'OMG-what-if-I-die?' reality check. I can’t be the only one letting go of crap and reassessing priorities. I can’t be the only one realizing (yet again) anguish is the direct result of my own failure to repeatedly accept and adjust…
Those of us who silently enrolled in Life-Enhancement-&-Prioritization-101 are healthier, stronger, and more lovingly human today. You can retire now, dear COVID, retire knowing you gave the entire planet the opportunity to hit pause and reevaluate what truly matters. What is precious. Cherished. Eternal. Retire. Let us live. Let us live the kinder, more appreciative, benevolent lives we are called to live.
Marlie, Your Pro-Retirement Advocate