Updated: Dec 19, 2020
I was 9 when the Soviet Union collapsed.
When I was 11 war broke out and there was little food and no toilet paper (really nothing). We had no hot water and no heating (we have winter in Moldova, my birth country) and we were forced to stand in line to buy any kind of product. In school, we never removed our winter jackets, hats, or gloves. We boiled water in order to take a mini bath and we washed all clothes and bed sheets by hand in ice cold water. I still remember the numbness and pain in my hands and fingers.
“It was customary for us children to study and feel cold. It felt as if we were heroes. There was nothing unusual about helping our mothers to wash everything in freezing cold water, our hands aching with the discomfort.”
Life was different but it was normal. We all experienced the same reality. Did we want a better life? Certainly! But we never felt that we were struggling or suffering. We never felt desperate.
It was customary for us children to study and feel cold. It felt as if we were heroes. There was nothing unusual about helping our mothers to wash everything in freezing cold water, our hands aching with the discomfort. I did as all my friends did. It was simply our reality and we were grateful to be able to study and have food. We were just happy that we COULD take a bath.
I remember me and my brother holding hands in hot water, so that they could get warm. Our hands turned red with the heat and we laughed with pleasure.
The times were stressful. Once we saw bombs passing through the sky above our heads while we were staying at my parents’ small country cottage. The bombs created nice red lights when they reached the land, and in my childish mind I found them beautiful. When I said as much, my mother replied, “They are not beautiful at all, my daughter. They are scary.” But I still didn’t feel scared. My family was with me ready to do whatever was necessary to survive. No one panicked; at least no one showed it.
We were united in our shared experience. We persevered together.
“We didn’t know if, when, or how life would eventually change, but we believed that if we pursued our dreams day in and day out, it would.”
Those families who didn’t give up and stayed strong and united, those friends who supported each other, just got stronger.
We all knew what to do, how to survive: we had to study, work, plan, support, and be a friend.... We understood how to enjoy what we had.
We still had our goals and we were motivated to bring them to fruition.
We didn’t know if, when, or how life would eventually change, but we believed that if we pursued our dreams day in and day out, it would.
Because if you want a better life, you should create a realistic image of what you want for your future and act on it no matter what comes at you from the sky—even bombs.
Today’s extraordinary situation reminds me quite a bit of my childhood.
We are in unknown territory. The situation is unheard of and we don’t know when it will change. But we know it will change for sure. We have food, heating, water, and all kinds of comforts.
We have a virtual network which connects us to our families and friends all around the world.
“In any stressful situation which takes us out of our comfort zone and pushes us beyond our normal boundaries, we have choices. We have the choice to feel bad and scared and to give up, or [...] discover a new world filled with remarkable and unexpected possibilities.”
Inside our houses we can start or keep building that future in which we attain our goals. It’s a rare situation when life itself makes it possible to pay more attention to what is truly important in our lives.
In any stressful situation which takes us out of our comfort zone and pushes us beyond our normal boundaries, we have choices. We have the choice to feel bad and scared and to give up, or we have the choice to feel anxious and lost but to keep going, and eventually discover a new world filled with remarkable and unexpected possibilities.
In the creation of this new space in which to develop a fresh reality, we will always experience some angst, some fear. Yes, we can try to avoid it, to push it away. But we can also try to befriend it, work through it, discovering along the way that fear can be used to shape unexplored horizons. New life needs new habits and new beliefs. Creating new habits is always better than fighting old bad habits. It’s so easy to be overcome by stress, get overindulgent and passive, and just surrender. But there is another way. This stay-home situation can be utilized positively to forge new good habits, to discover opportunities to be more active, to revive family ties, and to appreciate just how strong you can be.
With a certain amount of mindfulness, difficult and unusual circumstances can help us feel more powerful and see that nothing can break us. Living through rough times can make us more confident and kinder, more in touch with ourselves. Think about those moments in which you so wanted to change your life, to stop rushing from one task to another (really about me), in order to have time to dream, to plan, to meditate, to figure out what disturbs you, what makes you peaceful, what gives your energy.
And now you can!
And you can start acting on it!
Building the body of your dreams can start and progress now!
Building the physique you want requires a specific program, a schedule, time, and devotion!
We have less life “noise” so we can concentrate on what is important for us and build better, healthier behaviours.
The time for this is now, and we should do it together.
Because together we are stronger and more inspired.
And now we have the real-life example of the importance of health, good habits and... having each other in our lives.