Probably we baby boomers have seen more than almost anybody at this stage of our lives, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get rattled by the earth-shaking changes taking place right before our eyes and the latest of those is the coronavirus. But communications specialist Larry Checco of Silver Spring, Maryland, has some advice: Stay calm and carry on.
Rising sea levels. Melting ice caps. A plummeting stock market. Cyberattacks that can destroy our infrastructure. The opioid epidemic that continues to kill thousands. The ever-present danger of terrorist attacks. Brad’s and Jen’s never-ending tumultuous relationship.
And now the coronavirus pandemic.
No wonder our minds feel like they are being marinated in apocalyptic scenarios—because they are. Our axions, synapses, and dendrites are working overtime. They’re turning to mush. Psychologists are experiencing a tsunami of anxiety sufferers. And my mother, were she still alive, would be calling every 15 minutes to see if my family and I were okay, bless her soul.
As boomers we’ve seen a version of this movie before. We’ve experienced a lot in our lives that should have prepared us for times just like these. So let’s stop and ponder for a moment.
Recall we weathered the polio and influenza epidemics of the 1950s, not to mention the potentially world-ending Cuban Missile Crisis of the 1960s.
The Vietnam war sent many of us into the jungles of Asia— and onto the streets of America— yet we got through it.
The Civil Rights Movement was anything but civil. It was downright brutal and murderous, but we got through that too. We overcame the grief associated with the assassinations of JFK, RFK, and MLK, and watched parts of several of our major cities go up in flames. Yet we survived.
Nothing turned our world more upside down than 9/11, something even many millennials can recall. But we’re still here.
That’s not to say that sacrifices weren’t made. Many people suffered greatly. Many died. But as a nation, we survived. We got through it all.
Crises always seem the most dire when we’re in the middle of them. Think of our parents who must have thought they were witnessing the end of civilization when the pandemic of the 1960s and 70s was sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll.
So let’s step back from all this doom and gloom and think of what we have, rather than perseverate over what might befall us.
Call me a snowflake, but at times like these I super-engage in my philosophy of SMOJs, which means, spontaneous moments of joy. I try to focus on the little things that so often go unnoticed and unappreciated but are at the core of our lives, like time spent with family and friends, early morning walks, late afternoon sunsets, or sharing a laugh with a complete stranger.
I try to silo life’s sometimes harsh realities from what’s going right in my life— and it works.
So stop watching so much cable news. Stop wringing your hands.
Instead, do what you can to protect yourself against life’s vagaries. Then call a friend. Share a story. Laugh together. Enjoy the moment. It will help clear your mind.
If you buy into the hysteria you’re wasting precious time. And at this stage of our lives, time is the most precious thing we have.