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Norton: When this is all over

In last week’s column, I made a recommendation to replace the word react with the word respond as sometimes we never just react, we either overreact and make things worse, or we underreact and don’t do enough. But when we respond, we tend to think a little more clearly and do exactly what is needed.

I have seen so many posts on social media where people pose the question, “When this quarantine is all over, what will be the first thing you do?” And I have seen some really funny replies and some pretty scary replies. After enjoying a laugh, I started to think about the question again. What will I do when this quarantine is all over?

After running through several things that I thought I might do, it occurred to me that I couldn’t really think of that one thing that I really wanted to do. There are just too many unknowns right now. So instead, I focused my energy on what I can still do during the quarantine. And what I want to do now is give as much hope and encouragement as I can to as many people as possible so that I can make a difference in some way.

Years from now people will be talking about this time that we are all going through. The novel coronavirus and its impact on our society, the economy, and sadly, the loss of life. They will also talk about how we as the people who lived through it responded. And right now, we are the authors of what people will say in the future. Other than maintaining social distancing, wearing masks, and washing our hands we really can’t control what is happening around us. But we can control what is happening within us and our homes.

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A huge shout out to the medical community and everyone on the front lines, and to each and every first responder out there, we appreciate you all so very much. We don’t call a first responder a first reactor, do we? No, we call them a first responder.

When we are given medication that doesn’t agree with us, we typically say that we are having a negative reaction. However, when we are given a medication that helps us to feel better, we typically say that we are responding favorably. Do you see the difference? We can choose to respond favorably.

When this is all over, people will not only talk about us years from now, they will be talking about us while we are still in it and as soon as it is all over. They will see how we responded and how we handled ourselves during this crisis.

Did we stress ourselves out, did we get angry and cranky, did we create bigger problems? Or did we find peace and patience, did we take full advantage of our time together with family, did we do what we could to help others and volunteer? Did we react or did we respond?

We live in a world where we share what is happening in our lives through social media. Access to information is everywhere. Artificial intelligence picks up on what we look at while we are online. It picks up on trends and then fills our social media feed with more of the same content.

So, if we are reacting and negatively ranting in our own posts, we will continue to see other negativity being posted. However, if we respond by looking at, and “liking” posts of a positive nature, we will continue to see uplifting content filling us with even greater hope and encouragement that we can share and pass along.

So how about you? Are you reacting or responding? And what will you be remembered for when this is all over? I would love to hear your story at mnorton@tramazing.com and when we all strive to make a positive difference in the world, it really will be a better than good week.


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