Fear, Reckless or Mature?
How do we know if we are acting out of fear in our lives, being reckless, or if we are being generally responsible, mature and grounded adults? A good thing to ponder in this time that we are being called to GET STILL.
It's been raining and colder than usual in LA for the last week or so. My 33-weeks pregnant wife, our one and a half year old daughter and I all developed a bit of a scratchy throat, headache, and some other presently mild symptoms. In normal times this would be no big deal. But we are not living in normal times.
Fear creeps in... Do we have a cold? The flu? COVID 19? Our family has made the choice to self-quarantine and practice social distancing for the next 2 weeks just in case. As of today these actions are our choice and are optional in the United States. Although many businesses are closed, we are not on full lock down (yet?) and can move about freely.
We stocked up on about a month's worth of food and supplies but didn't hoard beyond that point - we're not sleeping on a bed of toilet paper for instance! This action plan is what felt right for us after doing what we felt was our best risk assessment. We're not right or wrong, but these actions help us to feel that we are acting responsibily, showing care to our family and those we might interact with. The current global pandemic situation is an extreme example that we can all relate to at the moment. Take a minute to consider if the actions or lack of actions you have taken feel like they are coming from a place of fear and scarcity or if they are being made after thoughtful, informed risk assessment.
If you did buy a years worth of toilet paper, what was behind that decision? Risk assessments are subjective in nature. We can take an extreme position in either direction and need to be mindful here not to go overboard or act with negligence.
...Another relevant example that is on many minds these days deals with money. As we enter uncertain times do we have a financial nest egg or are we living paycheck to paycheck? If we have a savings buffer, how many months worth of living expenses do we have?
Typically, financial advisors would say that Americans should have about 3 months worth of savings as an "emergency fund" in good economic times and about 6 months worth of savings in that fund in bad economic times. These finance gurus are not right or wrong on this. It's all about risk management. What is the level of risk that each of us are comfertable with?
The level of risk we that are willing to sit in changes throughout our lives. This is normal. In my case, I am trying lately to be more on the safe side as I have a young, growing family and my wife is in grad school and not working. This position is different than when I moved out to LA 10 years ago in full-on "trust the universe" mode. There is nothing wrong per se with whatever choices each of us make in our lives but mature adults should be taking the time to ask: What are the risks here?
After risks are brought to awareness, our goal is to act in a way that feels balanced and mature -- which means not acting in a way that...
1) Denies reality by ignoring all risk (too much trust)
2) Is fully based in scarcity (too much fear).
This is just what we're doing and how we are making our decisions. What are you doing and why? Remember it's more about being clear and conscious in your decision-making than about being right. Feel free to let us know what you and your family are doing in the comments. We're literally all in this together (from a distance;)!