Updated: Jan 28
“There are ultimately two choices in life: to fight it or to embrace it. If you fight it you will lose - if you embrace it you become one with it and you'll be lived.”
― Rasheed Ogunlaru
We have dealt with Covid-19 for nearly two years. We have lost friends and families, dealt with lockdowns, social distancing, business closures, job losses, and the Great Resignation. Many of us are having a hard time predicting when life will return to normal, let alone manage the effects of the current and future variants. It’s been a hard year, and despite advances in medicine and understanding the virus, we are likely years away from Covid no longer impacting our lives.
When I reflect on the past year, I see that I had to choose between fighting or embracing the challenges brought on by the virus. Earlier this year, I was leading Alexa’s IoT (Internet of Things) services, devices, and software platforms. It was a big technical and product role at Alexa and I loved my job. I worked a lot, but I felt that the work I was doing was impactful and making a difference. Although I had an extremely supportive boss and team, my workload was impacting my ability to be present for my family. This became abundantly clear during the pandemic because my youngest daughter had respiratory issues that were going from bad to worse. With Covid being a primarily respiratory virus, something needed to give. I’ve always put family first, but I had to embrace that philosophy wholeheartedly. I was lucky enough to be able to take time off from work and dedicated myself to taking every precaution possible to keep my daughter and family healthy. Yes, we even washed our vegetables before bringing them into the house! Yet, two weeks later we were all diagnosed with Covid. Panic, dread, and worry set in.
Ultimately, we had to face the fear of the unknown when we got sick. We learned to quickly embrace the ups and downs while we focused our energy on finding the best care for my daughter. Thankfully, my daughter grew out of those respiratory issues and she is 120% back to her full, vibrant self.
During that time away from work, I learned how to fully embrace the need to pivot. Moreover, I realized that my contribution in life was not only measured by the impact I make professionally, but also by the impact I have on my family.
I’m thankful for learning this lesson and even more thankful that my family is thriving. As a result, I am much more present at home and much more involved in the lives of my children. Frankly, it makes me feel happier and more resilient to the worries of COVID.
So how did I better embrace life?
I certainly didn’t reflect, write a report, and then distribute it, as we do at Amazon. I lived. And I made changes that I could make in real-time to embrace life as we know it with Covid. Life is complex. Sometimes it’s bad, sometimes it’s inevitable, and sometimes it’s even good. I have found that embracing life is accepting what it is and moving forward. Frequently this will require change. Rather than fighting change, I suggest embracing the uncertainties that come with change and having faith in your journey.
We can’t fully control the virus, but we can collectively take action to reduce the risk of harming ourselves and others. Beyond vaccinations, boosters, and mask-wearing, we can also learn to quiet the things that bring us stress and embrace this new phase of life. For some that may be done by adopting a new form of technology to stay close to loved ones, for others that might mean turning off the news and spending more time outside or simply finding joy in the small things.
Since we cannot control Covid individually we will have to learn how to control how we react and respond to the ups and downs caused by the virus. How do you plan to embrace life and the uncertainties you currently face due to Covid?