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It wasn’t long ago that we woke to the morning alarm and began our daily routines. Whatever that routine looked like to each of us, it was ingrained in our schedules, in our timelines for how life will unfold.
Maybe there were plans for spring or summer vacations, graduation celebrations, marriage ceremonies, Labor Day gatherings or Independence Day parties. It was all right in front of us. Then a switch was thrown and we were confronted with an invisible scourge that upended everything we thought to be true.
Then the losses came. Some of us lost people we loved, some lost jobs or homes. Some of us lost money, and some, healthcare.
We all lost our security. We all lost the day-to-day idea that everything will be just the same.
Now, as we adjust to new ways of life, weigh our decisions, and move forward, it’s important to say our goodbyes, in essence, to the myths of security.
Merriam-Webster defines security as: “the quality or state of being secure: such as. a : freedom from danger : safety. b : freedom from fear or anxiety”
Back when we were hitting snooze, we didn’t consider that our lives might be disrupted on so many levels within such a short time.
We had that sense of security that the job would be there today and tomorrow, that a haircut was a necessary evil, and that there would always be toilet paper.
We had a sense of security that the people we loved would always be with us, that saying hello through a window was a laughable absurdity, and that not spending the weekend with friends was unthinkable.
The sense of security was just that – a sense, a whiff, an idea.
Our assumptions about security might be better understood by how security operates.
The author Dan Brown, in his novel Inferno, offers insight into how and why people, for the most part, live in a sort of denial:
“Denial is a critical part of the human coping mechanism. Without it, we would all wake up terrified every morning… Instead, our minds block out our existential fears by focusing on stresses we can handle—like getting to work on time or paying our taxes.”
Then a microbe dragged the reality of so-called security into the light and denial, though an attractive option, was not practical.
Groundbreaking comedian Gilda Radner once said,
“There is no real security except for whatever you build inside yourself.” Addicts get the allure of denial, of not facing what needs to change in sometimes very dramatic ways.
To move forward, we need not fear our realities but face them with calculated action.
It helps to understand that fairness is a concept and expectation is forgiving. When crafting our denial and reinforcing our idea of security, we tend to put the focus on desired outcomes.
It will last forever:
We have a general expectation that the car won’t break down today, the mortgage will be paid on time, and the job will take care of us when we retire. Today’s circumstances prompt us to prioritize, to determine if life is built around the thing, the possession, the perceived security. As we contemplate our futures, we keep in mind that no matter how we choose now, we can choose differently later. Life is a “one moment at a time” deal.
Everything will be fine.
Of course, it won’t, not always. The key is knowing you will be okay no matter what life throws your way.
Everything dies. The sooner we make peace with this, the sooner we can get on with living. Use the backdrop of experience and the accumulation of wisdom to invest your personal stock in choices that support a thoughtful, intentional life.
It isn’t fair.
Voltaire once responded to an observation that, “Life is hard” with, “Compared to what?” We don’t get a guidebook, rulebook, or any useful instructions on how to navigate this life thing. We can remind ourselves that life is happening right in front of us, then never stop questioning what we are doing about that.
While we grieve the loss of our security and our control, we also recognize a chance to do it differently.
We get a chance to look at our life and determine if the path we are walking is still right for us. Perhaps it’s time to shift the direction, reevaluate what’s important, and direct our energies toward living the best life despite its obstacles.
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