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North Laurel/Savage: Keeping perspective in a time of disappointment

By now we are settling into what is a new normal and realizing that this new normal due to the coronavirus pandemic may be with us much longer that any of us originally anticipated.

That means that much of what we may have planned with friends and family this summer has the potential to be adjusted, postponed or canceled altogether. I know this has certainly happened at my house and among my family and friends.

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If you have a child, sibling, friend or someone else special to you who is missing an event such as graduation, prom, birthday, sports season or other milestone, I would appreciate knowing about it so I can honor them along with you. I would also love to hear about memorable ways you are spending your newfound free time these days. Please email me to let me know.

My daughter and I walk our three beagles often and on a recent walk, we noticed many beautifully painted rocks along our neighborhood sidewalks and among the trees. The first one we discovered was tucked in the notch at the bottom of a tree at the end of our driveway. I wish I knew the creative person who brought us a little bit of happiness that day. I have since taken that rock and now it sits on my front porch as a reminder of the simple, thoughtful way someone wanted to bring a little joy to others during this time.

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Like your neighborhood, mine is full of children and adults riding bikes, kids playing in the yard and dog walkers. So now seems the right time to remind drivers of cars, trucks, delivery vehicles and motorcycles to take it slow. Remember to keep your eye out for people filling the streets and sidewalks.

I also find myself having serious conversations with my children about their online school frustrations and their disappointment at the continued cancellations of events. This led to lessons in keeping things in perspective. Recently, my mom shared something with me that is fitting and teaches us to keep it all in perspective. I have paraphrased a piece of work written by a resident of Riderwood Retirement Village who remains nameless:

Imagine you were born in 1900. When you are 14, a world war breaks out and lasts until you are 18 and more than 22 million people are lost as a result. The Spanish flu pandemic hits later that year and continues until you are 20, taking more than 50 million people.

The country nearly collapses during the Great Depression lasting four years of your late 20s and early 30s.

When you turn 39, another world war starts and the United States is forced into it when you are 41. Seventy-five million people die during this time.

The threat of smallpox carried you through your 40s and, when you turn 50, the Korean War starts.

Up until you turn 55, polio has been rampant across the country either killing or paralyzing many. Studies and testing have been in the news ever since you were born.

Your years between 55 and 75 are filled with news of the Vietnam War, the Cold War and Cuban Missile Crisis.

How did people endure all of this?

“Perspective is an amazing art, enlightening as time goes on,” writes an anonymous acquaintance of my mother. For me, the lesson is clear. Let’s do our best to keep it all in perspective and teach our friends and families to do the same.

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