Let’s begin….Okay…B-R-E-A-T-H-E in…… Come on…..Inhale - all the way in…. Now hold it and count to ten…..Then, exhale S-L-O-W-L-Y……Ahhh….Much better right? Our world needs to take a deep breath. It’s good for our perspective.  I believe that we all need to collectively clear our heads during this unique moment in time. We’re being bombarded from all ends. It’s twenty-four seven, seven days a week. It’s on our phone; it’s on our computers, tablets and even Alexa! Let’s not forget about the news that never ends on television. All I can say is, “Where is Walter Cronkite when you need him?!”
 
People are also getting cabin fever. I get it. It has been “not-normal” for a very long time. It’s affecting our outlook. As we are getting closer to an abbreviated normal, we’ll need to keep ourselves on an even keel. My thoughts: No matter what we are going through, there is always someone who is dealing with more. We need to appreciate, now more than ever, all of the people and the good things that are in our lives. We’re going through some challenging times, but things could be worse. I’d like to share an ancient story.
The year was AD 79 in Pompeii – In a neighboring town there was an ancient service club. The club was busy with their annual “Togas for Heroes” program. (Btw…They had a president-elect named Zoltanius.) Suddenly, a volcano exploded with devastating force. The ancient service club tried to warn the nearby townspeople, but alas…it was too late. It reportedly got so hot that many of the townspeople’s heads actually exploded. I’m glad that we’re not dealing with that!
 
Count Your Blessings: We need to go through a gratitude list. It’s the perfect time. Make a list of all of the blessings in your life. This includes the people, situations and circumstances that have enriched your life. Warm memories and happy thoughts are nourishment for our souls. Whatever we do, let’s not abandon happiness during this time. During these challenging circumstances, we need to continue to help where we can in our community, but we also need to find reasons to smile and laugh. As human beings, we need to smile and laugh as often as possible.
 
Over the years, I’ve seen people who have had to deal with life threatening challenges and circumstances, yet most days, they seem to be happy and joyful. I’ve also seen the reverse. I’ve known people who arguably seem to have it all, yet they go through their days and lives miserable. It’s a choice that we make. Gratitude is a great place to start. I’m a firm believer that happiness isn’t something that you run towards. I believe that happiness is something that you bring with you wherever you go. We’re going to get through this. Let kindness and happiness rule our days ahead.
 
Sometimes we need to take a look at some challenges that people have had to deal with throughout history. It helps to keep our outlook in check. Here are a couple more examples of challenging times in history:
  • On January 15, 1919, a large molasses storage tank burst at the Purity Distilling Company facility in Boston, Massachusetts. As a result, around 2,300,000 gallons of molasses flooded the streets at speeds up to 35 miles per hour. (How do you plan for that?!)
  • The Titanic – Can you believe that they billed the victim’s families??? 
“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” - Victor Borge
 
Yours in Rotary,
Tony Parziale
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