As we embrace the quarantine factor and find ourselves secluded in the security of the four walls we call our home, we face new variants and situations that, surprising as it may seem, we are not always ready for.

Sharing the same space, whether in big homes or apartments, with our whole families and kids, or just as a couple or even alone, may not be so easy. Each situation presents us with different challenges, as some essential places such as the kitchen and bathroom, also the TV in some cases fall into the “communal” category.

It doesn’t matter how much we love each other; the reality is that in ordinary life, our schedules usually cross much less, and seldom are we together all the time, except maybe on weekends.

When together without a scape route except perhaps the privacy of our bedrooms ( and sometimes, that is also shared), issues are bound to arise, as the truth is that we are not used to always being in close proximity.

We all need our personal space, and we all have our quirks of how things should be, that range from what programs to watch on TV, how clean the kitchen should be and “who ate the ham that I was saving for breakfast?!”

We all have different personality traits, and like and dislike different things. The potential for problems, arguments, and discomfort grows when we are all together for an extended period.

My wife and I, with our teenage daughter, started a period of isolation yesterday.

We discussed and acknowledged the fact that being so close to each other may present us with some challenges. We agreed beforehand to be polite and respectful of each other’s space, to think before we say something, and to give each other as much love and consideration as possible.

We talked about the balance between having “alone” time to indulge in our favorite books, series, and hobbies. While also taking advantage of this opportunity to bond as a family and spending quality time with each other: cooking together, playing board games, and just being funny and laughing a lot.

I also realize that finally, I have the “time” to do all the things I always complain that I have no time to do. At the same time, I understand how difficult it is at times to stay on course and how easy it is to get distracted by social media and other more frivolous endeavors.

I want to relax, but I also want to make this time count and to come out of this ordeal better than when I went in.

Someone said that money does not change you; it just makes you more of what you already are. If you are a nice person and get lots of money, you will be a rich, kind person; and if you are a not very nice person, you will be a rich, not nice person.

I think crisis times in our lives also have the power to magnify our positive traits as well as the negative ones. So we need to make conscious decisions about what we focus on, what meaning we give to things, and, most important, how we act in our everyday lives, mainly when confined to small spaces with people very close to you.

Our everyday decisions are vital to our happiness and success in the situation we find ourselves. As the economy worsens and uncertainty takes hold, we must remember that it is not what happens to us, but how we react to what happens to us, mainly when our reactions, attitudes, and decision affect those closest to us.

Crises usually happen when we are least prepared for them, and they always test us as human beings. Everyone around us is facing fear and uncertainty at this time. Keep that in mind and reach out with a helping hand of love and compassion to those around you.

I have stopped sending direct messages by WhatsApp or Instagram. I have started calling friends and relatives personally- hearing their voices, finding out how they are, and offering a word of comfort has been life-changing.

It is ok to feel angry and upset when things go wrong, but we can’t stay there. We need to move on and see what we can do to help the situation. To learn how everyone around you is doing emotionally, and what you can do to help them.

Fear is always our greatest enemy. My wife and I sat down to face our fears and discussed the worst possible scenario in the coming months. In our lives, finances, work, and the situation in general- then we laid out some alternative solutions and plans of action to help solve and overcome the worst that could happen.

With that item on our list dealt with, we have more peace and reassurance to take it one day at a time and see clearer towards the future and what we can do every day to make it better for our loved ones and us. We decided that whatever happens, we shall overcome!

Let’s keep an attitude of faith, hope, optimism, perseverance, courage, and determination. Let’s choose to be brave and not give in to fear and despair.

If there is anything history proves, it is that human beings have amazing capabilities to endure and overcome any situation- to raise like a phoenix from the ashes of defeat to a better future for us, our families, and our countries.

Vitin Landivar

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