It Really Matters

Sometimes it’s a “wake up call” that punches you square in the face that makes you take stock of your life and your relationships. Typically, a health crisis is the catalyst for such revelations. I should know, I had one. But interestingly enough, a pandemic seems to have the same effect. I know that I’ve recently been asking these questions of myself, “What relationships do I most value?” and “Am I doing my part to contribute to these relationships in a meaningful way?”

Most of us have been sitting at home for the past few months doing our part to “flatten the curve” of the coronavirus, but what have we been doing to heighten the curve of our relationships?

Instead of “breaking bread” with our friends and loved ones, we’ve eaten all of our quarantine snacks (some of us within the first 48 hours) in the solitude of our own homes.

Our residences have become offices, classrooms, binge-watching caves, and kitchens without “We’re Closed, Come Back Later” signs. Clothes in our closets have shrunk from lack of sunlight (so we tell ourselves) and our grocery bills have easily doubled. I have two college kids home at the moment, so mine has easily quadrupled. GULP. On the flip side, the time I have had with my kids during this pandemic has been priceless. Conversations we wouldn’t have had otherwise have been a pleasant byproduct of the times. And for the most part, I still like them even though there are times they drive me crazy.

Ironically, we still don’t know what’s even happening tomorrow.

I have a confession to make. I am a Type A personality. I admit it. It’s my cross to bear, and somehow, a force within me that I cannot squelch. Always on the go, working on this project or that and rarely taking the time to slow down and “smell the roses.” Having to stay home of your own accord is one thing. Who wouldn’t like a weekend holed up in your bedroom watching Lifetime movies? But when you HAVE to stay home and almost “be still,” it is stifling for a person who needs to know what is happening next week. Ironically, we still don’t know what’s even happening tomorrow. On a positive note, I HAVE had time to binge-watch a lot of Netflix, and Amazon Prime shows over the past few weeks. Go ahead, ask me about any show. I’ve probably watched it.

I remember a time during my cancer journey when I would grapple with the forced slowing down of my life followed by questioning the true meaning of it. When I was well and back to my “piss and vinegar” self, I found myself right back on the road to Type A, like a derailed train fighting its way back onto the tracks. This time, I will ease back onto the tracks, if I even make it back on them at all.

As of late, we all have been forced into a slowing down of life – our freedoms to unwittingly move about any place other than a grocery or liquor store, the crazy almost “halt” of our economy, the devastating loss of jobs for many people – where has this led us? Are we wiser?

Have we taken the time to tell people in our life that we love them, that we appreciate their friendships? For me, I have decided to say more of what I’m feeling to the people I care about. My friends? Well, they may receive a random “I love you my friend” text or a call out of the blue to tell them I miss them. They might be wondering what I’ve been smoking, but I’ve learned once again that life is short and you have to grasp every moment as if it may never pass it’s way back to you again. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

In any event, how can the time we are living in make us better people? I tell my kids all the time, “Be better. Do better.” Translation – be better for others, do better for others. For me, this pandemic has paired self-isolation with much-needed self-reflection. My hope for this time is that we all emerge more self-aware. What we do and how we treat each other – it matters. It REALLY matters.

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Connie Bramerhttps://gyrb.org/
Connie Bramer is an entrepreneur, mom, breast cancer survivor and author of “How Connie Got Her Rack Back,” her comical spin on the journey of cancer. Connie’s mission to help others through her own experiences drove her to found Get Your Rack Back Inc., a not for profit organization that provides financial assistance to cancer patients in Upstate NY. GYRB assists patients – men, women, and children with varying types of cancers – with gas and grocery gift cards as well as medical copay assistance. Connie has been featured in several magazines including Her Life New York and Womenz Straight Talk. As a cancer survivor, Connie was awarded the Hyatt’s prestigious Portrait of Understanding Award. In addition to her inspirational blog, gyrb. She also shares her everyday antics with a snarky sense of humor on her blog, The Humor Of It All. Connie is a contributing author to the inspiring book Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational Change

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  1. Your hope is that of many.
    But we will not be better, not necessarily worse, but we will have to rethink ourselves and ourselves in relation to others avoiding extreme behavior.
    Even when the lockdown links have loosened, we will have to be careful and maintain a certain “social distance”, because we are all potential, innocent, unaware vehicles for the transmission of the virus. Taking the elevator in company, getting on public transport, hearing someone coughing or sneezing coughing or sneezing at the supermarket: even the most banal and “cold” gestures and situations will take on (and have already taken on) a different value.
    And then just look at what is already happening in various parts of the world, where old and profound contrasts emerge.
    Whatever the emergency we have to face, only by being united, only by showing solidarity, only by not accusing each other, can we overcome the vicissitudes, even terrible, that affect us.
    I think it will have to end everything to really understand if we will be better or not. Perhaps we will only be more aware of many aspects of our life and this would already be a big step forward.

  2. This is 200% spot on. I’m not at all a type A person. But I always have 50 things to do that have to fit into 35 timeslots. The pandemic gave me e permission to say no to many things that were in good, but just too much. I wrote lots of letters, walked with friends nearly every day, and although I am not a person who picks up the phone, I even managed to call people who I normally wouldn’t call. I am a firm believer in turning a tough situation into a blessing of some sort. Grow through what you go through. Nice job on making the best of things and Thank you for taking time to tell us how we can do the same.

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