By Shawndi Purselley, CFP®, CDFA®, Owner and Co-Founder, Wealth Advisor
My blogs have always focused on how I have been influenced over the years by my own life experiences. I make a point of using my own personal life as a teaching tool for others. Today I want to write a different type of blog: What has 2020 taught me?
When we as a nation first began voluntarily staying home, I had no idea just how far that would lead us down the path of solitude. I was remarkably shocked at just how quickly our society became agreeable to shutting down our whole way of life. As an American, part of me felt a sense of community. Seeing that people were willing to “do their part” to stop the spread of this new, scary and possibly deadly disease was refreshing. We as Americans get so caught up in our own day-to-day lives that I think we can forget to be good neighbors and good stewards to our fellow human. I have learned a sense of humility through this pandemic and I want to remember to be kind, observant and willing to do my part for the greater human good.
I also learned that while most of us have been practicing and perfecting our stay-at-home and social distancing skills, many of us longed for our deep need of human contact and interaction. I found myself craving the presence of my friends, my team at work, and the loud chatter of a typical Texas restaurant patio on a spring afternoon. I believe in the power of social behavior and I do believe humans need interaction with other humans. I think this level of socialization is one of the beautiful things about our species. Togetherness heals the soul.
Our children were sentenced to at-home learning for several months. By the time students go back to school in the fall, they will have been home bound for about five months. For a while my son was in heaven staying at home. Now he admits that he misses the school environment, time with his friends, and time away from home. I learned I am not a good teacher! I have always had a great appreciation for teachers, but now I appreciate them just a bit more. I realized that children also thrive in social environments and I truly believe they learn better while being around other children.
I have always been the type of person that relies on a schedule. I am a hard worker and love to feel the sense of accomplishment of a job completed. That being said, if I do not put myself on a schedule, I will quickly veer off the path and get bogged down or caught up in unproductive tasks. So, for me, staying home has been very difficult as I tend to drift off into the abyss of meaningless activities. If you are/were a stay at home parent or spouse and maintained a high functioning house then kudos to you! I am a mess without structure and find it difficult to structure myself at home.
I admit that on the days my son and I sat beside each other while doing our work, I rather enjoyed having my little guy with me. The forced slow down gave the perfect opportunity for families to reconnect in this sometimes distant and fast paced world we live in today. With no baseball, no work, no school, and no restaurants we learned new (old) ways to entertain ourselves. I tried to order a puzzle and a set of domino on-line the other day and there were NONE to be found. Families are learning to play games and take walks together and eat dinner at the same table. There are more people walking in my neighborhood than ever before. Sadly, many are people I have never even seen until now. I think one of the most valuable lessons we have learned through this is that we should all slow down and smell the roses. We need to make our family times a priority, not just something we fill our time with when there is nothing else to do.
I am excited to see how our country’s resilience pulls us out of the lingering economic effects of the “shutdown”. I believe in the American dream and I believe all of us will do our part to re-open our small business doors. I have made it a priority to buy from small local vendors as much as possible. I want to give our communities and small business owners the opportunity to thrive again.
I hope that each of you stays safe, healthy and prosperous. Again, I want us all to remember we are kindred souls and are all deeply connected as Americans to one another. Please don’t forget to be patient and kind with your fellow human. Let all things we do be done with love and compassion.