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Stay the course while celebrating accomplishments

Stay the course while celebrating accomplishments

“The bamboo that bends is stronger than the oak that resists.”
— Japanese Proverb

Wow!! A lot has happened over the past eight weeks, since my last writing. On March 19, California Governor Newsom issued the statewide stay-at-home order. Just like that everything we took for granted came to a grinding halt. Our lives changed in an instant! We were all confined to our homes we shared with its inhabitants- some with many people and some alone. Each situation had its unique challenges.

In a blink of an eye many businesses stopped. For most of us, not working left a huge hole in our lives. Work is our passion and purpose. It gives us direction. It gets us up in the morning, forces us into a daily routine and consumes most of our day. I think I am cheating life if I am not working. 

Students were all sent home as schools and colleges across the country were closed. Kids had to face the new reality of “distance learning”, “social distancing“, and the closure of their favorite hangouts. Humans are social creatures. Confining us to one place is by no means easy for us emotionally, mentally or physically. My daughter, Tayla, has really battled. She loved going to school to see all her friends and the excitement of the daily adventure. For her, learning has just become incredibly boring. 

A crisis can make you a better person if you recognize it as an exciting opportunity. Just like the bamboo, one must learn to bend, adjust, change and most importantly accept this new reality. We have no choice. Do not fight it. No more normal for anyone.

I don’t know about you, but suddenly I had an abundance of TIME. For me that represented enormous possibilities. I knew this thing would end, and the country would open at some point.  Looking back on this time I would ask myself, “What did I achieve during the shutdown?” 

So, I decided to take the following five steps.

1. Focus on what I could control.

2. Stay calm and know that this would pass.

3. What opportunities could I take advantage off.

4. See this as a good situation and learn from it.

5. Accept the situation and be patient.

My family and I did not want to get infected with the coronavirus. We put together an entire plan of action that included hygiene and social distancing. We kept aware of who we encountered and how to protect ourselves. We thought to attack would be the best form of defence, so we got in shape. My wife Debbie and I trained harder than we ever had. We added muscle, lowered our body fat % and increased our cardio workout. I can honestly say, I am in the best shape of my life. Having the time to train harder, sleep longer, recover more, and enjoy our home has been a real blessing. Oh! Yes, we also found ways to celebrate life. 

Instead of running so hard and fast from the moment we opened our eyes in the morning until we crashed on the pillow at night, we took time for ourselves. Time I will truly cherish. 

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strength. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is STRENGTH.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

Stay strong, stay healthy and let us all work together to make our lives great again. 

— Ralph