Yesterday I read a Forbes article on how many retail businesses will fail by 2025 as a result of our current situation. The numbers, my friends, are staggering. And it is not because they aren’t trying; it is because the landscape has changed so dramatically and so swiftly forcing consumers into online-everything.
It’s not realistic to tell you not to shop on Amazon, peruse the aisles of Target, or long for the goods at Hobby Lobby. I too shop in all of those places and I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a Starbucks in my hand while I did it. But, if there is one thing this last month has taught me is that I can probably live without all of those…except Amazon, because toilet paper.
To top it all off, another article indicated that the landscape of shopping would be mainly changed by values. Values both with what retailers offer and what consumers put value in, specifically what those retailers stand for and exemplify. It quickly made me realize that we, RIGHT NOW, have the option to choose that.
These are the questions that ran through my head…
Do we choose convenience over quality?
Do we support our neighbor over a CEO?
Do we value the hard work of others over the underpaid work of many?
Do we support businesses that support our community?
Do we cheer each other on or tear each other down?
Do we take a bit longer to drive to a small shop or rush through a big box store?
Do we support creativity or expect it to be provided for free?
I don’t need to tell you what I am currently doing differently or what I plan to do when the new normal hits because while our values may be similar, they are not identical. We each are individuals, with preferences of our own, and that’s a good thing. What I would like to do is to challenge you to envision the landscape you want to see the new normal be. Mine includes a walkable downtown lined with little shops, quaint coffee spaces with local roasters, and owners that recognize me and maybe even know my name. Does it feel a little Hallmark movie? Yes! And I am totally ok with that, and even more ok with supporting that vision in the here and now so that later I can live it. Keep choosing for those values today my friends, tomorrow depends on it.
Stay…In The Moment,
What we are all experiencing is similar, how we all process that may be different. I can tell you that the one word I keep coming back to is choice, the ability to CHOOSE. Much of that has been taken away over the last 30 days whether that be by Stay-At-Home orders, your employment status, or even fear. But the flip side to that is we still get to CHOOSE, and by all accounts, that is an incredible blessing.
We get to choose happy, choose our reactions, choose how we spend our time, no matter how limited that may be right now. And whether you decide to use this time with limited options to Netflix and chill or dive head first into a new learning opportunity, it is still the same. This entire pandemic event and process that continues to follow it is a minor equalizer in that way.
With that in mind, we are making choices every day on spending, activities, and how to function that may change the way we do things once some semblance of normalcy returns. And that is where I want to stand on my soap box and offer everyone a cautious pause to focus on what they will CHOOSE.
You get to decide how busy you become, how you nurture your relationships, where you spend your dollars, who you will be, how you will impact the earth, and what you support in your community. Because for the first time in your lifetime, you were granted a long pause to examine all of this and forced to make different choices on how you do things without the busy chaos of life camouflaging all of that.
As a family, we do a relatively good job at supporting small business, most often choosing to eat at a locally owned establishment, purchasing from other small business for goods, and being careful with things we can reuse and recycle…but could it be better? Yes, and it most certainly is worth the extra time and dollar because in the end, I get more back on both of those and a community in which I want to thrive.
For each of us this may look differently; we all have different likes and dislikes, favorites and pet peeves, but inherently it’s still there. Do you care about the earth, but do nothing to reduce your footprint because you are too busy? Do you love seeing a thriving downtown, but purchase at big box vendors because it can save you a dollar? Do you cherish your family, but don’t take the time to reconnect? I’ll let you in a secret…you will never be less busy, you will never have enough money, you will never have enough time…but if you never follow through on these you will also never run out of excuses. And that, my friends, is a choice.
We get to choose how we exit this pandemic, choose how we react to daily challenges, choose where we allocate all those resources we never have enough of anyway. And this, in effect, will shape what are lives look like after we seek normal. This great pause has given me a lot of introspection on my choices, why I choose certain things over others, and how I can do better based on my values and what I care about. Looking at this with the realization that I have choices makes my lack of control over this situation a little bit easier to swallow, helps me rest in hope for a brighter future, and forces me to pause in all the right places. It may not look pretty at all times, quite frankly it’s like an unmanned circus, but in choosing these things, joy comes more easily even in the midst of all the chaos and will continue long after we move forward individually and as a community.
Stay...In The Moment,
By now I am sure many of you have been inundated with the rules of quarantine. And by that I mean a slow and steady trickle from experts you’ve never heard of before, internet gurus, and self-proclaimed blue ribbon business owners, life coaches, and social media marketers wanting you to listen in and give their methods a try.
Here’s what they have to say…
Be productive, now is the time to grow.
Be mindful, don’t put pressure on yourself.
Learn a new skill, don’t take this slow-down for granted.
Self-care, plan activities to rejuvenate yourself and your mind.
Be realistic, but don’t allow that to stifle your dreams.
Eat healthy, stress affects your immune system.
Treat yourself, eat what you want, but with moderation and care.
Help your kids learn, complete the virtual learning from instructors bogging your inbox.
Don’t worry about your kids missing out, they need you right now to grow through this.
Keep your kids on track with school; these are good life lessons.
Finish those projects, now is a time to get ahead while you are inside.
Leave the projects, now is a time to focus on you, on wellness, and keeping stress in check.
Realize the world will never be the same, don’t let that affect you.
Plan for when things go back to normal, now is the time to forge a new path.
So, in summary…do this, but not too much…its ok, but not ok…try that, but don’t dive in…it matters, but it doesn’t.
This noise is enough to make any person dealing with the outside world in a positive and healthy way go off the deep end. In the end, this ‘help’ isn’t helpful at all. It leaves people to question their sanity and their way of doing things, compare their lives to that of others, and feel like they come up short in every aspect.
That brings me to this…pandemic or no pandemic…I stand by my original…YOU DO YOU. Whether that means you are productive or not. And I’m not talking about just making feel-good decisions so you can pacify the time or ignore the world around you. But rather do what you need to do right now to be ok. Fall back on extra grace, give that to those around you, and by all means make sure you give that to yourself first.
If you want to learn something new, go for it! If you need to chill, do it! If your kids need a day off from virtual school, take it! If you need chocolate, eat it! If you want to work out, lift it! If you need to know all the things, research it! If you have to or need to or want to work, clock it! If social media is driving you mad, hibernate! If you need to feel heard, reach out!
I’ll be over here doing just that. And, in the middle of it having good and bad days, difficult and easy moments, sad and happy times, and practicing a lot, and I mean A LOT, of grace.
I am giving myself more grace than ever and working on things ever so slowly. Which means while juggling kiddos, projects are taking more than a hot minute to complete.
One project I finished was this mini-book wall. If you have wanted to try one, you can head to my Instagram page, and click BOOK WALL on the highlight reel. It will give you a mini-tutorial so that you can do your own. This would also be super adorable in a playroom or child’s room using colorful books too…if any of my local friends want help with one when this is over, I’m your gal! And, if you just want to pacify the time by watching it, or skip by entirely, that’s ok too. Because, the whole point is to just have YOU DO YOU.
Stay well and Stay…In The Moment,
Jennifer Kalista is the face behind In The Moment Restorations offering everything from the likes of design services and paint color recommendations, to custom furniture restoration and handpicked home decor, lifestyle goods, apparel and more.