- Human beings matter.
- Things are just things.
- Everything can change in a hot New York minute.
COVID-19 taught us these lessons (and a thousand others) suddenly and plainly.
Until a handful of weeks ago, many of us spent our lives sleepwalking. So many of us obsessed about our work and (sometimes) ignored our health and wellbeing just to work even more. (I’m raising my hand here too, y’all.)
To what end? To an early grave from stress. Or to live in what feels like an open grave.
“Go to work. Get your money. And come home.”
The author Toni Morrison told us all that in 1988 but we didn’t listen. We were too busy working.
Nothing like a pandemic to pump the brakes.
Because the cold, hard reality of it all is that if you dropped dead right now, your company would mourn, send some flowers, call in a grief counselor … and keep going. You’d be replaced. That is, if you still even have a job.
The sad truth is that you are replaceable … to them.
That doesn’t make them bad or wrong. American business is just doing what business does, at least up until now.
But there’s a better way to center your life than on work. Do this instead: Take a look at your life and see who you are not replaceable to … and build your life around them.
Now, I’m not saying quit your job. I’m saying get your priorities and set them. Hard. Like in concrete with a big old border wall all around. Take care of yourself and take care of the people you love, whether that’s your kids, your partner, the family you were born into or the family you found along the way.
Build your life around the people who really see you and still love you and think that you are not replaceable.
Not in any way shape or form. Build your life around the human beings who know that – if suddenly you were gone forever – the lack of you would blow a hole in their lives forever. Forever.
Those are the people who matter and their value is greater than any job or status or promotion. Yes, we still need jobs and food and shelter but take this time to prioritize and value the people who love you and will keep you for as long as you’re breathing. Because you’re not replaceable to them and they’re not replaceable to you.
Go (virtually) to work. Get your money. And come home.
And remember these truths even when we eventually emerge from this pandemic. Don’t be the one who has to learn this lesson twice. Because you really know this truth too: everything can change in a hot New York minute.