By Kent Mulkey

 Most of our population has never lived through a global crisis like the current one. But there is a source of wisdom and reassurance for living through catastrophic times (like WWI, The Great Depression, recessions, WWII, polio epidemic, Vietnam War, Korean War, for some the Holocaust and now COVID-19)  the oldest people among us.  

My 92-year-old mom lived through and clearly remembers all the catastrophic events above. Yesterday I had a long conversation with her about COVID-19. She is taking all the important precautions, but she is not the least bit afraid – she has lived through some tough times.

 These are the people who are teaching us to take the long road through this time. With no intent to minimize it, this will all be a memory one day. And we will better, stronger, and more resilient people because of it. I heard a friend say the other day that the month of March felt like it lasted about 50 days. The month of March put a lot of things in perspective for me. Here is just one observation:

 People are kinder and more patient with each other. How do I know? I have not been honked at by an impatient driver even one time in the past month (true confession: I tend to drive a bit slower these days). I find myself calling friends and family and having open, tender, and heartfelt conversations. Not as though we are all going to die, but rather appreciating that we are alive and healthy.

Down the road, whenever this ends, I want to take with me all the lessons I can – slowing down, appreciating people, watching my health more closely, and anticipating that life will not always be easy. Tests and trials will come our way.

 As the upcoming Senior Living Foresight virtual summit says, we’re stronger together.


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