Life itself is about lessons learned through what we go through, what we see and hear and what we read in books. We also learn by observing others and Nature around us.
During the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic difficult and uncertain times, we are being forced to learn things quickly mainly to stay safe and healthy. We were all caught off guard and unprepared for how to handle the pandemic so the more science we learn about the disease and the more we learn from other countries which have fared better in the pandemic, the more we shall understand and be able to protect ourselves and others.
According to the Johns Hopkins University COVID-19 Online Dashboard on 13th August 2020,
20,939,967 cases had been reported globally and 759,928 deaths.
In the Africa region, South Africa had the largest number of reported cases : 572,865 and 11,270 deaths.
My second home, Botswana, had 1,214 reported cases and 03 deaths.
As of today 13th August 2020, the Ministry of health of Uganda has reported 1,353 confirmed cases of COVID-19 disease, 11 deaths and 1,141 Recovered patients.
On a personal level, the lockdown left me socially isolated, financially insecure and emotionally drained. I have come to accept my vulnerability and mortality and have been pushed to surrender control of my life to a higher power: God my creator. The Bible has always taught me that God teaches us letter by letter, line by line and lesson by lesson. Isaiah 28:10. A combination of isolation and mind solitude plus what is going around me and the news from other countries worldwide, has forced me to think and reflect on my life and to have a new perception of the next phase of my life.
From March to June 2020, Italy was the epicenter of the COVID-19 disease, the shocking and troubling pictures of elderly patients fighting for their lives in the Intensive care units are still engrained in my memory. 627 elderly people majority of them men, died in 24 hours on the 21st March, 87 percent of these were patients over 70 years of age and 99 percent had associated chronic medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease. They died alone in ICU or in nursing homes.
Other countries like USA and United Kingdom soon caught up with Italy and even went beyond.
Currently USA, Brazil, Mexico and India are grappling with the biggest number of new cases and deaths.
I truly appreciate that life is a gift that has to be celebrated every day. Each day I wake up fit; up and about, becomes a time of possibilities and potential. My responsibility is to make the most of it.
The value of life becomes more meaningful after 50 years of age when you realize that you have already lived more than half of your life or at any age when you survive a threatening illness or accident. The reality of your age, your own place in life and your own mortality crystallize out.
This is what I am living with every day and two good things have come out of it. I have made a conscious effort to love with no regrets and to stop procrastinating.
LOVING WITH NO REGRETS
Those who died alone in ICU without anyone holding their hands had relatives but by the very nature of the disease which was even less understood by that time, they could not be by their relatives’ side. It left many of those relatives with a lot of unfinished business.
Such a situation would leave any of us wondering:
When did I last visit my relative?
When did I last talk to her/him?
When did I last tell her/him that I loved her/him and that I appreciated her for the way she touched and enriched my life?
Did I ever tell her/him that I loved her/him?
The answer to these questions is what hurts the living most in our fast –paced world. Our world is dominated by work; we tend to put off many things like calling a parent or a friend. Birthdays and Christmas still come once a year!
“ The regret of unfinished business is particularly oppressive, even haunting in its oppressive grief.”– Donna Lynn Hope.
I lost a relative who had worked as a nurse in USA for over twenty five years. In the latter years she had developed Diabetes but was well controlled and leading more less a normal life. She died in June at the frontline of the COVID -19 pandemic. While in Botswana, we were in regular contact but when I relocated back home, I got wrapped up in my own survival and assimilation. The next thing I heard was that she was fighting for her life in the Intensive Care Unit. Her death left me drained emotionally; I cried out of grief but more for what I never said to her or what I would never be able to say.
I needed to immunize myself of similar regrets in future so I am training myself to learn to tell the important people in my life what they mean to me as often as it is possible. As love is more of action than words, I am focused on doing small acts of kindness whenever an opportunity presents itself.
After all genuine love enriches both the giver and the receiver and makes everything possible. Happy people make others happy too.
That is why I have decided to love with no regrets even if it means loving the difficult ones at a distance.
“ No regrets, just love.” – Anonymous
STOPPING THE PROCRASTINATION GAME.
Procrastination can be simply defined as putting off things.
It is considered and rightly so as the “thief of dreams”. We are all guilty of it in one way or another.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I was deliberately disciplining myself to stop procrastinating but instead do the most important things in my life as a matter of urgency. On a scale of 1 to 10, I could score a 7 ; I was working hard on it every day.
The psychologists tell us that each one of us needs both self-control and motivation to get things done in a timely manner. Self-control allows you to push yourself to do things while motivation offers the reward to your efforts. Most times the reward comes in the form of satisfaction of getting one thing on your “to do list” done. It brings you closer to a sense of completeness in life.
Studies on human behavior show the following as the commonest cause of procrastination:
1.Rewards that are too far in future
2. Not having a clear picture of your future self
6. Fear of Failure
7. A perceived lack of control
8 .Lack of enjoyment
9. Lack of motivation
The commonest among these is the fear of failure, not being motivated enough and just being lazy to perform what is yours to be done.
In the recent past, I was putting off things because I had too many demands on my time. I was unnecessarily postponing decisions and actions and getting little done. I took inventory of my life just as I had done in my early thirties and recognised that that I was not “super woman’’. I had to prioritise things by defining the 20 percent most important things in my life and give them 80 percent of my time. Once again , I was in control of my life and laughed more often.
On returning home, I found that most essential systems were hardly functional; simple things like acquiring or renewing an essential document, took long to be completed. Many people have forgotten the importance of punctuality; they seem to have an extra four hours in a day! The heavy traffic jams in the city drain my energies and emotions. All these affect my motivation and increase the likelihood of procrastination.
I am fighting to ensure that the demotivating factors do not outweigh my self-control and motivation and tip me over into a cycle of procrastination.
“Procrastination is one of the common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.” – Wayne Gretay
As a senior citizen, I am aware of the reality of my age and yet curious about the possibilities of life from midlife to the end. I have to do what is mine to do and fulfill my highest purpose in life. I work on it every day. Death is with us all the time but I can still see a future beyond COVID-19 pandemic and this gives me hope.
The COVID-19 Lockdown made me realize that there were a number of things that I could have started and completed before the uncertainty and unpredictability of the COVID-19 catastrophe set in. I am now left with only four months to the end of 2020! As things stand, COVID -19 is not going away anytime soon but it is my duty and responsibility to protect myself and others . I remain hopeful that the scientists will be able to find some effective drugs to treat the disease and a safe , effective and affordable vaccine.
Gradually we shall figure out the best way to get on with our lives amidst the COVID-19 disease and its effect on our health and economies.
Over time, I shall relearn to trust myself to start creating again while pushing procrastination to the back burner. I still have much to look forward to; I have new dreams for my life.
Who knows, I may be able to catch up on the lost months of 2020. As for now, staying safe and healthy is my top priority. It should be yours too.
Did the time you spent in strict lockdown force you to relearn of the urgent need to do important things in a timely manner?