It’s been difficult for me lately to get a good nights sleep. It’s been very hard to get my mind off our current coronavirus situation. I’m worrying about my husband, my kids, my grandkids and just about everything else inbetween. I’m worried about having enough food and will we be able to keep on buying food? I’m concerned about money, continuing to pay the bills because we don’t know how long the crisis is going to last. Will it subside in the summer? Will it come back in the fall? What happens if I get the virus? Or DH? We’re told to employ social distance. That only makes my family stay further apart from each other. What is going to happen if any one of us comes down with the virus? Who will take care of us? Will we survive?
Is it any wonder I can’t sleep at night with all these thoughts running through my head?
Peggy Noonan, one of my favorite writers, has a weekly Opinion column in The Wall Street Journal. Noonan’s latest piece, compared the coronavirus to something about 9/11 (click here to read article).
Something came to mind I’d written months after 9/11. Everyone was asking how we could have missed the signs. I remembered the words of astronaut Frank Borman when he was asked in 1967 why NASA had not been prepared for the catastrophic launchpad fire that killed three astronauts. It was “a failure of imagination,” he said. No one imagined such a thing could happen on the ground. That’s where I think we have been the past few weeks in this epidemic, a failure of imagination.
I’m letting my imagination run wild regarding this current crisis-d’jour. My head is filled with a zillion ‘what ifs’. People who use their imaginations, do so as a protective tool. Your imagination can prepare you for any disaster from any angle. Our experts try to play down our imaginations and shame us into submission. They always seem to underestimate the uncharted distances the human kind will go.
One of the many principal reasons why The Great Recession of 2008 came to be was due to then-chairman of the US Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, failure to imagine that bankers would do anything foolish to put their own banks in trouble. But they did. Click here for more info.
Greenspan’s super-low interest rates and consistent opposition to regulation of the multitrillion-dollar derivatives market are now widely blamed for causing the 2008 credit crisis. The derivatives market went from barely registering to a $500 trillion industry, despite billionaire investor Warren Buffett warning that they were “financial weapons of mass destruction”. Greenspan’s rock-bottom rates encouraged Americans to load up on debt to buy homes, even when they had no savings, no income and no job prospects. These so-called sub-prime borrowers were the cannon fodder for the biggest boom-bust in US history. The housing collapse brought the global economy to its knees.
At a Congressional hearing investigating the causes of the financial crisis, Greenspan finally admitted he “made a mistake in presuming” that financial firms could regulate themselves.
We may find ourselves in a new brawl of reality because many of us, especially those who are in charge of us, do not employ the power of the imagination. They’re basing our future on what has already happened in the past. I have a powerful imagination and over the years I’ve been severely criticized for using it. I’ve been told to ‘shut up’, ‘you’re crazy’, ‘you’re a liar’, ‘you make up stories’. I consider my child-like ability to use my unbridled imagination one of my most valuable assets. My power to dream and imagine is what catapults my life to extraordinary successes. I have always stated that if you can dream it, you can make it happen.
This coronavirus is going to force mankind to seriously think about what truly is important in their lives. With the thought currently of anyone over the age of 60, now a potential victim of an early death, thanks in part to the coronavirus, I’m certain many current and future retirees are rethinking their life plans. Doesn’t it seem a bit stupid and frivolous now to realize you’ve saved for your retirement most of your working life and should you contract a foreign-invented virus, you may die and never enjoy your goals? This reality was never part of your lifeplan because your imagination couldn’t conceive it. And yet, here we are. Plan Z of your retirement planning should have included a pandemic. And it didn’t. How’s that for a kick in the head?
What about all those lattes we gave up? What about all those financial sacrifices we made, such as only driving old, used cars because we were advised NOT to be in debt? What does it feel like knowing we’ve never experienced the joy of owning a new car? Taking an exotic vacation? Living in a magnificent home? Experiencing top notch entertainment, gourmet foods and living the good life?
I’m thinking to myself right now, faced with the possibility of an early, unplanned for death, that I am glad I lived my life the way that I did. I’m glad I took on risks. I’m glad I took on failures. I’m glad I went hog wild on spending money, enjoying my life, racking up debt, credit and taking hunches head on. Sometimes I won. Sometimes I lost. But always, I lived. Because now, if I wanted to hop on a plane and spend a weekend in Tahiti, I couldn’t. Nobody is sky hopping the globe right now. The entire planet is on lockdown. I couldn’t do anything daring right now if I wanted to.
Of course we need to be reasonable. Of course we need some common sense. Hopefully this virus will pass and most of us will come out of it unscathed but hopefully wiser. The time to live our lives is now. Sure it’s nice to plan for a future but if something good comes along, take the risk and enjoy it.
You might never get the opportunity again.