As a certified matrimonial law attorney, I am usually very busy and focused on my clients, and I do not often have time to ponder life in general. The COVID-19 pandemic has afforded me some time to reflect on life…as we once knew it, and as we now know it.
The last three months have been a difficult time for everyone. Many have lost their lives as the death toll in the United States approaches one hundred thousand. Even more people have lost their jobs. Many of those who are lucky enough to still have jobs are working for less income and, unfortunately, many small (and even large) businesses will not survive the economic impact of the pandemic. We have stayed at home and have had little to no in-person contact with others outside of those with whom we live. The stress and worry about the virus and the future has wreaked havoc on the mental health of a large portion of the population. While many are suffering directly from the symptoms of COVID-19 (total confirmed cases in the United States has surpassed 1.5 million), even more adults and children are suffering from depression as a result of all of this. We are social beings and it is difficult for us to be apart from others.
This is a significant crisis, but we will get through it. Hopefully, we can learn some lessons from it. We take many things for granted, such as our health, family, friends, and the conveniences in our lives. We can use this difficult time to help us appreciate all these things.
Often, we are in a hurry, failing to be patient with others, and failing to appreciate the beauty of everything around us. We have rushed through things in our lives to get on to the next project, next task, next event. Now, we must be patient in doing almost everything. We wait in line to get into the grocery store. We wait in line to check out. We understand how everyone is moving more cautiously, and we must be more considerate of others. We can appreciate just being outside or going to a park. We now take notice of things that we never noticed before, as everything moves at a slower pace.
We also have learned to be more efficient. We use technology to help us work from home and to help us obtain what we need, as almost everything can be delivered. We plan our trips more carefully, trying to minimize how often we are out and the number of stores we need to visit. We have learned to become leaner and more efficient in what we need and what we do. This also enables us to spend more time with our families. Some of that time has been spent cleaning and purging unwanted items to simplify our lives.
We can use this as an opportunity to get to know our neighbors better. Many people are out walking to exercise, relieve stress, and just to be outside. My wife and I have met more of our neighbors over the last two months in walking our dog around our neighborhood than we met in the previous fourteen years we have lived here. We can learn to be friendlier, even to strangers, as we understand that we are all going through this difficult time together.
We can focus on each moment, on each day. We can stay in the present rather than worry about the future. The future will always be uncertain and there is no benefit to stressing about things beyond our control. Focus on what we can control, the most important being how we treat others.
Let’s learn from this crisis how to be better people. Let’s slow down, be kinder to others, appreciate the beauty around us. Let’s appreciate all that we have in our lives. Let’s not take things for granted, whether friends or family or all the conveniences we have. Let’s focus on today, rather than stressing about the future. Let’s use this crisis to become better versions of ourselves.
William J. Rudnik, Esq. is certified by the NJ Supreme Court as a Matrimonial Law Attorney. In addition to handling divorce litigation, he is qualified as a Mediator in the field of Family Law under the New Jersey Court rules, and he is trained in Collaborative Divorce. Contact Mr. Rudnik at 908-735-5161 or via email.
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