COVID-19: A Letter From DJ Josh
What a difference a week makes…
Last week: We had all heard of Coronavirus, laughed it off as “the flu”. It didn’t register as anything to worry about because every generation currently alive hadn’t, up until now, experienced something so pervasive and widespread. Spring breakers were still pouring into Northwest Florida. Everything was normal.
This week: The world is no longer the same. Runs on toilet paper, professional sports leagues canceling their seasons, Coronavirus’ grip on Europe tightening, and we are beginning to get the sense that this is going to be “normal” for a while.
I’ll be honest. I put off writing this letter. Since I’m a DJ, my livelihood comes from booking nightlife gigs, weddings, and private events. I just established Highlight Weddings & Events in January. Even though my company is new, 2020 was looking much more promising than I expected it would be with more-than-expected couples booking me along with receiving referrals from other local event companies.
Monday was when things got real. Executive orders that limited public and private event gatherings were issued. The events that I was scheduled to be a part of in the next two months had evaporated. Because of this sobering reality, it was a time of mourning and grief for what I thought the year was going to be. But, the thing about what we are experiencing is WE are experiencing it.
I can’t imagine what couples and their families are going through, especially for those who had March wedding dates. (Kind of sad to use the past tense for dates that haven’t even occurred yet). There’s just so much we don’t know, and that uncertainty is both infuriating and paralyzing. Maybe we are all dealing with grief to a certain degree.
Sure, future plans are just plans but they also embody who we expected to be. Our lives are a sum of our experiences. We take those future experiences away and we have effectively “killed” our future selves or the version of ourselves we were anticipating. And, your wedding is something that you invest so much time, money, and mental energy toward. Some people dream about it their whole life. After all the planning and preparation, it’s no longer what you were ready for.
There is, however, something good from having closing dates handed down by the governors. They’re finite, easier to process. If they had just been left open-ended, the level of uncertainty would be greater than it is currently. Our state and federal governments may elect to extend the dates but we can at least plan for their current duration. In the meantime, here are some things I feel are important to do (most of which I’ve started doing).
- Get a cash reserve. I’m not saying we should have a run on banks, but having some cash on hand is wise, especially in the event that technology fails.
- Keep a normal schedule. This is a tenet that a lot of people that work from home follow. Having regular things you do daily is a way to engineer normalcy into your life. If you follow Highlight on either Facebook or Instagram, you may have noticed I still posted my regular posts for the week. I haven’t gotten to the point where I can automate them, yet, so I (and my wife, Rhoda) have been manually posting content when it’s scheduled. Even if it’s not based on time of the day, have things that you do in the morning, afternoon, and evening. They will help keep you sane.
- Read. This is one thing I have NOT started yet, but I intend to soon. With all this free time, the temptation is to Netflix and chill or hide in our electronic games or mobile devices. Rhoda and I are in the middle of watching Parks & Rec right now. But don’t let that take up all of your free time. Even if we are quarantined, reading a book outside is one of those simple pleasures that we can still have. Plus, you can get some sunshine too!
- Reflect on where you want your life to go. This is purely conjecture and may not be correct at all but there is a possibility that, during this downtime, corporations may go through a process of finding where they are being inefficient and trimming their workforce. We’re already in the middle of a recession. With further restrictions on movement for the world’s population, the economy will probably become grimmer before it gets better.
Also, is what you’re doing what you REALLY want to be doing? Just like companies can take this time to reexamine what they could be doing better, you can do that as well. Is there something you’ve considered but have been hesitant to go for? Check out “Mind Your Business: A Workbook to Grow Your Creative Passion Into a Full-Time Gig” by Ilana Griffo to explore it further.
- Improve, learn skills. Free time and relaxation are important, but what are things you should have been doing but haven’t because you “don’t have time”? We are going to have at least a month (and some media outlets are forecasting three) where we will be practicing social distancing. How much can you improve and learn when you’re focused on those skills between now and then. Also, this is even more pertinent if you are considering changing your business focus coming out of this period.
- Unplug with loved ones. This is one thing that is going to be of growing importance the longer we practice social distancing. Have conversations, play board (or other) games, read a book together and discuss them. Being an introvert, I’m a little surprised at how freaked out I am with the prospect of this being how life is for as long as it could be. It’s a great way to overcome that feeling of isolation.
- Call someone. Even if you can’t be with them, you can still be there for them. There is a power of comfort that the voice has that goes beyond words in text.
- Don’t panic! This is hard. Panic is instinctual. Talk out, or even write out, what you plan to do; if life becomes more chaotic as the coronavirus’ impact becomes more severe, you can follow a guide and not react in a way that could be to your detriment.
This is tough. It sucks. So many things are not as they should be or how we are used to. We do, however, have the benefit of this being a truly global experience. Everyone’s experience is going to vary but there is still a commonality that we all understand about it. Because of that, practice kindness. Understand fear has a wide range of effects on individuals. Try to smile. Remember to be grateful for what you have. Share stories of the good you see happening around you. They are more important than ever to hear.
This is temporary. We will get through it. Don’t be afraid to help and don’t be ashamed to request assistance when you need it. Each individual has tremendous potential inside of them but we are so much greater together.
The best is yet to come,