It’s easy to get sucked into the world of Facebook or Instagram during times of crisis. You can lose yourself in fun images, inspirational quotes, and social media squabbles.
I know I’ve lost myself in social media more than I’d like. I love seeing stupid memes, what’s going on in friend’s lives, and how I’m not living up to my potential (according to social influencers).
That’s why when I came across a recent meme related to the quarantines happening throughout the United States and other countries, I took a minute to pause. I took a minute to think “Man, this meme is great. It’s spot on.” Then reality smacked me.
Reality told me to grow up. Reality told me I was being judgmental. That people are suffering and I wasn’t being fair.
The meme I saw was this:
The meme says –
If you don’t come out of this quarantine with either:
- a new skill
- starting what you’ve been putting off like a new business
- more knowledge
You didn’t ever lack the time, you lacked the discipline.
It sounds good. It sounds really, really good. But why?
It plays to our desire to always be learning. To always grow.
I get it. A time of quarantine, a time away from all the junk that gets in our way is a perfect time to learn a new skill or grow or to read more books.
However, a time of quarantine doesn’t guarantee you will have more free time. If you don’t grow during a time of imposed isolation, it doesn’t mean you lacked discipline.
Tell the single mother trying her best to home school her two children while working two essential jobs. Or the husband who now has to work double shifts because his wife was laid off from her job? Or you might have a mental battle waging over bills to pay, social anxiety, and what is coming next.
I was glad to see another meme pop up. It used similar wording but it also shared a more hopeful message. The meme is:
This meme says:
If you don’t come out of this quarantine with:
- A new skill
- Your side hustle started
- More knowledge
You never lacked the time, you lacked the discipline.
You are doing just fine.
We are going through a collective traumatic experience.
Not everyone has the privilege of turning a pandemic into something fun or productive.
Can I tell you how much I love the second meme compared to the first? It’s amazing. It’s refreshing. And it gives hope.
Today, I want to tell you that you’re doing fine. If you’re not growing, you’re doing fine. If you’re scared, you’re going to be fine. And if you’re learning something new and starting your side hustle, you’re doing fine too!
We’re all going to react to crises differently. Some will come out with new skills. Some will stay where they are. And some will be glad just to make it out alive.
Let’s stop shaming others for just making it through. Life is hard. Life during a pandemic is hard.
We’ve got to be better. We’ve got to be willing to help and support those who are struggling.
The best way to do this isn’t to shame them. It’s to tell them their reactions are normal and they’re going to be okay.
Can we do this?