We are entering into uncharted waters, there is plenty to be afraid of. People around the world are and will continue to die. Reactions to this crisis will vary; some will get scared, some greedy, others angry and even more will turn to denial. We cannot control the virus or the resulting cascade of events, but we can control our reactions. It is in our darkest hour that we must be our very best. When we are stressed and tired, we must be calm and strong. When we are scared, we must be courageous. It is when we are challenged that we reveal our true self and it is times like these when our character is demonstrated and our values are tested.
There is always hope. Opportunities exist even when the horizon is dark and the future appears bleak. The unknown created by the pandemic is an opportunity to be our very best: to be compassionate, to help others, to not follow the crowd but to lead. As we head to the stores, call a neighbor and ask if they need something. Think about the difficulties of isolation, and remember that some people are isolated every day. Reach out, look past the bottom line and think about how your actions will impact others.
It is in moments like these that clarity can be found, an acute focus on priorities. Being our best in challenging times is not easy. It takes conscious effort and introspection to rise above the mass mentality. It is easy to submit to fear, greed, hostility, and blame. External events do not provide justification for poor behavior and callus actions. Be better. Be the best. Look for opportunity to respond in a positive way that makes even the smallest difference. Collectively, we can set new standards and embrace productive societal behaviors. We can create beauty, we can be the flower growing from the dirt.
While it is morbid to think about, what if these are the last weeks of our lives? How will you be judged and how do you want to be remembered? Do you want to die a fearful hoarder or as a kind, compassionate, vibrant soul that used his/her time to live their best life? How we treat others is the most important legacy we leave. Not only will we be remembered externally for demonstrating fortitude of character, but internally we will also see the world with positivity and optimism. It is in the darkest moments when we must be at our very best. Use this time to be thankful for what you have, and use today to be your best. This can be a time of personal growth; an opportunity to rise above and to be better than what we see around us. And for god’s sake remember to laugh!
• Steve Ricci is an active community member in Juneau, sitting on several boards and commissions, past legislative aide working on both sides of the aisle and past commercial fisherman that still works in the industry.