Perspective in the middle of chaos

Social IssuesCulture

  • Author Antje Arnold
  • Published September 11, 2020
  • Word count 997

Nowadays, the world is faced with a pandemic case of chaos. People lose their jobs, healthcare coverage, savings go into bill payments, the administration of schools and colleges are uncertain if they should teach in person or purely online, racism is more apparent than ever and everyone is confused and fearful of the unknown future. Fear turns into frustration and social media turns people into “keyboard cowboys” with outbursts of anger and calling people out; in many ways the unveil of true passion and beliefs which would never be dared to be spoken directly into the face of the person.

I get it. We can all relate to other peoples’ frustrations, losses and sadness. And while we have little control of certain federal and statewide rules and guidelines, we can certainly adjust our attitude towards them. Why? Well, we all believe in certain rights and wrongs, but that doesn’t necessarily mean our perceived side is the correct one. When we step outside of our own heads and truly listen to others, including taking in a full 360 view of the subject matter at hand, we become to realize (if we are truly honest with ourselves) that nobody can make Everyone completely satisfied and happy with a solution provided. We can only assume that the decisions made are in the best interest of the majority of the population; not the majority of our direct environment and small circle of people we are in contact with.

In times like this, we often solely focus on the things we lose, fear to lose or have to give up. Of course, this is a very human reaction and also very egoistic. Instead of concentrating on the things we need to give up, what about zeroing in to the things we actually gain? For instance, how many times have you wished for more time with your immediate family, got annoyed by people in traffic, were frustrated because the subway or bus was late (again), got stuck in construction traffic, sadden by the time wasted commuting to work and back home, missing your favorite group workout at the gym due to being stuck late at work, not seeing your child take the first step but rather it be described to you by the daycare worker, not having time to try out the family pasta recipe, or wishing you could enjoy the outdoors more often? Instead of commuting, you can enjoy extra time in the morning and evening by yourself, with your partner or kids, use the time to build your own business or work on your passions and dreams or learn new skills online to spruce up your resume. You always complained about needing extra time to do “XYZ”? Now you have it.

Personally, I am tremendously grateful to work for a company that allows me to do my job from home; which has worked out quite well besides the occasional slow internet connection (such a first world problem!). My children had to finish the 2019-20 school year at home with a somewhat mess-up virtual class schedule that was not always congruent with the communications sent out to parents and students. However, we all made it out alive to tell the stories. The summer was not at all what we normally would experience. Instead of a graduation party with friends and family, beach visits, tourist attractions and big city adventures, we spent our weekends hiking trails in our state we did not even know existed. We had more in depth conversations, got to truly assess our points of views and perspectives and therefore, got to know each other on entirely different levels. Let’s be real, they can hide in their rooms for only so long before they get bored and want to talk to another human being or have to address the “elephant in the room.” While I was able to work remotely (I know this is a privilege & I genuinely appreciate the frontline workers of all professions, as my son is one of them), I got to spend the ENTIRE summer with my kids! This has never happened before and even though it might have been disruptive or slightly annoying at times, I cannot even describe to you how grateful I am for this precious time. Parents know, kids grow up too fast. It’s a proven fact; once they start school the years just keep flying by. Instead of complaining and focusing on the indecisiveness of colleges and public schools, how about being appreciative for having your kids around? This coming school year is basically a cluster of uncertainties, but the good news is that we are all in the same boat. This means, we need to stop acting like our kids were singled out to be made an example of. Both of my kids will attend school virtually; one college freshman and one High School student. Will it be challenging? You better count on it. Will the current decisions made by schools change? Of course! It will require a new routine and workflow around the house, but will teach us compromise, flexibility in our approaches, assessments, re-assessments and dealing with any direct conflicts right on the spot. We will exercise real-life skill building activities and can only grow wiser from them to take on the outside world in the future. If you can handle your own family with all its quirks and weirdness, you can handle anything in the years ahead. You can look at the glass half-full, half-empty or you can keep reminding yourself that the glass is refillable. It is all up to you and the mindset you want to bring to the table. But remember one thing, “Complaining about a problem without proposing a solution is whining” (Teddy Roosevelt).

We will all get through this, because chaos often provides an opportunity of growth, change and improvement. So, you can either drag your feet or jump in and participate to create a better future of human kind.

Antje grew up in East Germany. Her book “The Girl Behind the Wall” is available on Amazon. Her book has received an honorable mention at the 2018 Hollywood Book Festival and she has been featured in several interview articles and podcast interviews. Check out interview articles and podcast interviews: http://www.antjearnold.com ; http://www.amazon.com/author/antjearnold

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