Life is so unpredictable. First the Coronavirus, resulting in devastating health outcomes for so many people around the world. The negative impact on the U.S. economy and many businesses has been beyond belief. We do not know when we can expect significant relief from Covid-19; most likely not until we have a vaccine for the virus. We are many months away from that, and until then, the best that we can hope for is a gradual reduction in the number of people affected with the virus, and hopefully a decline in the death rate. Now that schools are scheduled to begin reopening in varying degrees across the country, some people are worried that we will have a surge in Covid cases. Life cannot begin to return to any semblance of normal anytime soon. Even so, although it is hurricane season, we probably did not expect that we would have a hurricane to contend with. But we did.
Hurricane Isaias came into North Carolina and touched down near Ocean Isle Beach around 11pm Monday night, then headed northeast. Raleigh was spared, with less rain and wind than was expected. Our property at the coast, at Oak Island and Caswell Beach, had more rain and wind than expected, but was spared serious damage, although some in that area have major clean up to do. We were fortunate and are so grateful for that. Some people suffered significant property damage, and even worse; there was some loss of life in our state. I will never forget living through category 5 Hurricane Irma in St. Maarten in September of 2017, and never want to have that experience again. I seemed to have temporarily forgotten that experience when I planned to travel to the coast earlier this week, in spite of the impending hurricane. Our daughter insisted that we stay put in Raleigh, and thankfully, we complied.
I am struck that so much seems out of our control lately. What are we to do? When there is so much that we can’t control, perhaps it is productive to focus on what we can control. I have a few thoughts about that.
I realized recently that my email inbox had more than 30,000 emails clogging it. Yes, 30,000! (How many do you have in your email inbox?) I decided to take control of this and reduce my emails to a manageable number. To do so requires that I commit some time daily to this task. I do not really know how many emails I receive daily, although I am trying to figure that out, but I do know that most of them are junk, and I plan to permanently stop many of those from coming in. But first, I have a major email cleanup to do. At the beginning of August, I decided to delete at least 1000 emails per day, and by the end of August, I will then be able to permanently stop many emails from hitting my inbox. While this is not fun work, it is somewhat cathartic. I can see progress already. In fact, I am deleting more than 1000 emails per day, and the emails in my inbox are now below 20,000. At this rate I will hit my goal before the end of August.
This reminds me of my weight loss commitment. When my weight hit a number near a point I decided I would not go, in May of 2019, I said, “Stop; enough.” I decided that my weight would not reach 160 pounds. I stopped two pounds short of that and (again) got serious about Weight Watchers. (Now WW, no longer Weight Watchers, but always Weight Watchers for me.) August 1, 2020 I weighed 102.5 pounds. This is a daily commitment. Some days are harder than others, but my commitment is solid.
My commitment to get and keep my email inbox in shape is similar to my commitment to get and keep my weight in check. Both require commitment, daily focus, and systems that make the task manageable. While these may not be at the same level of importance, they both weigh me down when they are out of control. In fact, being out of control is really the problem, and the specifics are the symptoms.
We can’t control the Coronavirus and COVID-19. We can’t control the weather. But there is much that we can control. Perhaps we start with what we can control. And wait for those other things outside of our control to eventually improve.
What do you think?