One morning I sat at my kitchen table and began to read the front page of my local paper, the Sandy Springs Neighbor. In bold letters it said “Virus Crisis.” The article outlined the devastation that has already hit Georgia just three weeks into the start of the shutdowns that have spanned the entire world.
Instantly I had an epiphany: we are not only living in unprecedented times we are living in a time that will forever change the face of America. Can you imagine coming out of this crisis to find that some of your favorite stores and restaurants no longer exist? Abd that life as you have known, will never be the same?
We will now see sheltering in place become a normal function for fall and winter seasons to come due to the fear of another pandemic. For the first time in our lives, we are getting a glimpse into what many people may have felt at the turn of the Great Depression. While I am confident that we will not relive the same story, it is clear we’re getting a taste of the emotions and concerns that must have possessed those in 1929.
So now that we have outlined the time we are living in, what does this mean for our country? More importantly, what has COVID-19 revealed to all of us? There is undoubtedly a great divide, and not the divide we all feared coming from the left in the form of socialism. The divide is between the healthy and strong and those who are sick both physically and professionally. The fact remains, COVID-19 doesn’t consider race, religion or which tax bracket we fall into, but it has acted as a mirror in so many ways. For the entire life of this earth, there have been discussions around the importance of eating healthy, having an active lifestyle and kicking cigarette habits. Then we look at our business community. Several businesses neglected to build substantial savings, some managed to get by year after year with incomplete financial records others maxed out their lines of credit with the expectation that our strong economy would last much longer. Today, we’re fighting a virus that preys on the unhealthy in every way.
COVID-19 has revealed those coasting through life on the cushions provided by the survivors of the Great Depression, apart from those using the spirit of creativity and innovation– the two pillars which this country is built upon.
After reviewing the case study provided by the COVID-19 pandemic, hindsight has provided us with several realizations that, if used correctly, can lead to an entirely different life jam-packed with what is needed to be successful. I have gained an enormous appreciation for the businesses and survivors of the Great Depression and other moments that seemingly destroyed our economy.
This is your time, the moment you were waiting for to jump in the game and add something new to the fabric of America. I encourage you to start building a stock portfolio, complete the business plan that has been in your heart, and use this time of leveling as an advantage and not a setback. We should all walk away from this moment with a new look on life as we transition back to our lives in a few weeks.
Let’s do a few things to start. Take better care of our physical bodies, pay attention to the administrative and financial details pertaining to our businesses and allow the wisdom and creativity derived out of this moment to continue to grow and add to this great country that will again rise above adversity and crisis. I look forward to seeing what we all will contribute as conduits of change and development. God bless you all and God bless America.
Janelle King is a panelist on Fox5Atlanta WAGA-TV’s “The Georgia Gang.”