It’s 5am, I can’t sleep. Yesterday I found out our state is cancelling all elective surgeries in preparation for the coronavirus to surge and overwhelm our hospitals. I work for several small surgery centers that are closing and I have found myself, like many others, suddenly unemployed. For the month of April I will have very minimal or no work opportunities. I understand the decision. We are facing a crisis that is unlike any other I’ve seen in my lifetime. Saving any and all medical supplies at this time is imperative for the battle we are potentially facing due to this devastating virus.
I get it, I really do, but I’m terrified.
I shouldn’t be. We are in a much better position financially than most I know. We have increased our savings account balance by 40% since I started this blog and I couldn’t be more grateful for how and when I decided to pursue financial independence. Like many others, the pursuit of early retirement has been shot to hell. My plan was to use some of our savings to start paying down our mortgage. Now it is going to be used to fund our actual emergency of temporary job loss.
I’m not complaining. It’s what the money is there for. Dave Ramsey wasn’t wrong when he said you should have 3-6 months of income saved. It’s just that nobody thinks it’s ever really that necessary. At least I didn’t. You never truly believe something like this is going to happen to you. Healthcare has always been a safe career choice for job security. I never thought I would see a day where I didn’t have an income.
If I sound terrible for talking about money right now, when people are dying, it’s simply because I don’t want to talk about people dying. I’ve seen videos from Italy that are terrifying and I prefer to push the images to the back of my mind, grateful for my forced quarantine, and realizing had I not become an independent contractor I would literally be on the front lines of this epidemic.
While many providers are living in a hospital to avoid bringing this virus home to their loved ones, I’ve been given the ability to stay home with mine. It’s a weird feeling to be terrified of losing your income and yet grateful for it at the same time.
I do believe this is temporary. Hopefully, in a couple of months we will have beaten this virus to a bloody pulp and taken our lives back. Things can return to, what I’m praying, will be a new normal for America. It’s my hope for all of us that people will change in ways that improve our world.
This pandemic is highlighting a society gone wrong…grocery shelves full of vegetables and empty of ice cream…mothers making facebook posts about going crazy on day 3 of a quarantine because they are having to actually be mothers…profiting from hoarding and reselling of hand sanitizer…food and toilet paper hoarding.
A friend of mine asked me recently what was causing me the most stress about this whole situation? My answer, I am fearful for the health of my family but I’m also afraid of supply chains breaking down causing the worst to come out in people as they try to meet their own survival needs. I’m thankful I haven’t heard of these events happening in Italy or China, two countries being ravaged by the coronavirus, and it gives me hope that things aren’t as bad as the media are making them sound. When you read headlines that imply of food shortages, political unrest, and death it’s impossible to feel positive that this will end well.
Our home, and maybe yours too, needs a return to a time we’ve long forgotten…family dinners, quiet time to read and reflect, sewing, cooking at home, growing your own food and preserving your harvest. Letting ourselves get bored for a change instead of immediately reaching for an electronic device. Learning a new skill instead of watching a new video.
I realized I was on my phone last night when my daughter needed me. I’m aware of my thoughts becoming so distracting I’m not listening when my husband speaks to me. I find I have to reread paragraphs repeatedly because I get lost in thought. The two most important people in my life often get what’s left of me after I freely, embarrassingly, give my time and attention to other people and things that don’t matter.
Maybe you’re realizing these things too. Maybe you don’t really need all the things that you have and you’re making plans to give to those in need, spend less, improve your health and mental well being, and maybe repair a broken relationship or two.
Maybe you’re realizing that so many things just aren’t worth giving a shit about. The most important things are the loved ones you’re currently quarantined with, the ones who deserve the best of you. It’s interesting how a crisis can cause you to appreciate life differently and create growth in unexpected ways. I’m unemployed, terrified, and yet grateful.
Let us all pray we can come out of this with cleaner hearts, not just cleaner hands.