We have all experienced negative situations. Hell, this one that we are collectively engaged within right now is without a doubt pretty damn negative. 14 or so days without our favorite restaurants, no meetings with our best buds at the local watering hole, not even quick visits back with Mom and Dad or Grandma and Grandpa. COVID 19 has stolen much of the attention and for obvious reasons. Yet, this virus that continues to ravage our nation has really provided us with such a great opportunity, I’d even say it has given us a gift: time. Not more time or less time, but time without so many constraints. Time to slow down and take a good hard look at ourselves for who we really are so that we can transform into those beings we were always intended to fully be: our best. This gift of time has allowed us to take stock on all of the things that are no longer working for ourselves. Essentially this has been the moment of turning the upside down right side up. Simplistically speaking, taking the bad and choosing to make it better. Honestly, when was the last time you were given an opportunity to do just that? Personally, it has been a while, but let me share with you a small anecdote for when this shift in mindset occured to me.

Flashback to the fall of junior year of college. I, along with some of my friends, decided it was the perfect night to take some pictures of the city (Detroit) as it has a tendency to flaunt itself after hours. Without hesitation we quickly gathered our things and headed out for a stroll. We soon found ourselves on the platform of the notorious  People Mover. Now being the sensible one of the group, I decided to stay on the platform. However, my other friends decided to press on and enter the track to capture the best shot. Deep down I knew I had made the best decision, but them, not so much. All of a sudden a loudspeaker comes on and immediately provides us with a fun fact “did you know you are standing on thousands of volts of electricity and if we didn’t just shut it down you would be fried?” My friends were in total poop-your-pants mode, as was I for what just happened and would continue to happen. From that moment, everything appeared to be in slow motion. We were surrounded by at least eight Detroit Police officers from every which angle. It was almost as if they came right through the walls. We were instantly sentenced to stay on the walls and to be quiet. The tongue lashing ensued followed by the $350 ticket we were all administered! I felt sick to my stomach, feeling like I legitimately committed some crime. I had to face the music and accept this situation. I also had to accept the fact that my Mom would soon be facing her own kind of nightmare: brain surgery. Looking back, I was still stuck in this kid mentality. I was trying to escape my reality, the one where I might not ever see my Mom again. So what did I do? I sorrowfully made my way back home creeping back into the wee hours of the night eventually crash landing into my bed.

I could have wallowed in self pity but I quickly felt an urgency to change my mindset. This was no longer about my stupid mistake. It was an opportunity to do something great for someone else, my Mom. See my mother had always dreamt of going to Marathon, Florida where she could interact and swim with the dolphins. Her “time” was potentially limited and that was really  the truth I couldn’t stomach. I furiously typed away on my phone drafting up a GoFundMe  that explained my mom’s situation and calling upon humanity to help. This wasn’t a cheap request as it would be paying for not only my moms portion, but mine, and my sisters, too. I made the link go live and fell asleep. Upon waking, I had to make peace with my recent past of getting in trouble with the law, but I was too excited for what I had worked on to curb my situation. To my utter shock, the money that was raised exceeded all of my expectations.

To this day, I’m just as humbled and still get goosebumps from recollecting that moment. What I had learned is that humanity is working all of the time. It’s when we choose to flip our own switch “off” from whatever negative experience is happening to us and “on” towards helping someone else that things really do change. It is never too late to turn what is upside down in your life into something right side up. In this midst of this pandemic, my wish for you is to slow down, reminisce, and strive to make a change. Because the only time we ever have is now. 

In this crazy time, remember to take great care. 

Help me to take it further…

When was the last time you experienced a negative situation? How did you transform that negativity into positivity and how did that make all of the difference for you? 

Evan Woody 

E-mail: [email protected]