Social media is a funny thing. It's designed to share important snippets of our lives with people we care about. As Americans and women, we're inclined to share the highlight reel. From our Elsie Green social media accounts and my personal account, you see what's good or there is silence. Rarely do we open the door all the way to show the portions of our story that are not camera ready. But these last few weeks have been strange and difficult. And not a little bit scary.
As a mother, a small business owner, and a member of the human community I have found it more difficult to make the right choices at the right time than I ever have. I understand hand washing and social distancing is the best action to "flatten the curve" as they say. That seems very black and white to me. But there are so many questions about the grey areas.
I have an adult child living in France. Is the right thing to insist that she comes back to the safety of our home, or do I guide her to make her own choice and support that choice? I have a son in college. I'd like to hop in the car and bring him home. But is that my place?
My youngest is out of school and wants to have a sleepover with a friend. Do I say yes to maintain some type of normalcy for her and trust that she will take the right precautions, or say no to keep her in our house and protected?
We run a business with ten team members who are like family and who are counting on us for their livelihood. Is keeping the shops clean and directing the teams on hand washing and merchandise handling practices enough? When is the time to cry uncle and close the shops? And how do we support and protect our team in the meanwhile?
Our business runs on the cash we generate from sales. So as our customers are distracted by big and scary concerns in their worlds, and sales are dropping off, we are feeling the panic rising. What is our best way to bridge the short term gap between income and expense?
There is no right answer to any of those nagging questions. I've always had very good instincts and all my best decisions have come from trusting my gut. I hate this feeling of constantly second guessing myself. When my children are afraid of something I've always told them "fear is in your mind, danger is real." It's difficult in the midst of all the panic, sensational news reports and personal opinion to separate the fear from the danger. My instincts are all out of whack.
I am hopeful that I will make more right choices than wrong choices. That this global health crisis ends soon. That my friends and family stay safe. That my small business can weather this storm like it's weathered others. I am hopeful that you, your friends and family stay safe.
I am also hopeful that this crisis brings more beauty and kindness to the world, as it has in some of those countries under mandatory quarantine. When our loved ones and our livelihoods are at risk, that's when it becomes clear what's really important and what's superfluous.
I am hopeful that we all find calm in stormy times.