Living Alongside COVID

Living Alongside COVID

by Karen Conover

It’s been four months since our lives changed dramatically.  Businesses and schools closed, and life just…stopped.  Well, I should say it stopped for many who are stuck in the loss.  Some of us have been living a full and busy life in the last four months, while at the same time embracing changing directives and community rules. 

Of course it’s not easy to put aside all the expectations of “normalcy”.  I should know a lot about that loss – my son missed his first real chance to be on ESPN with the karate team he loves, and he missed his “normal” high school graduation with screaming fans in the stands and lots of hugs and camaraderie of his fellow graduates.  Seeing my son miss those things has been hard on me for sure.  But, in the meantime, I wanted to share with you how (for the most part) I’ve been living my life and how I plan to continue approaching it from here.

As a karate school owner, I have two goals: the educator goal of delivering inspiration through martial arts and also, the business goal that feeds my family.  I love letting the martial arts teacher in me lead the way, because martial arts teaches us to never give up even when things get tough.  This positive attitude has set me up with a line of thinking where it is absolutely unimaginable that a special high school graduation “can’t” happen, where a black belt test event “can’t” happen, where teaching martial arts classes “can’t” happen, or where keeping my business successful “can’t” happen.  One cannot dwell on the word “can’t”.  Of course, all of those things “can” happen, one just needs to approach life with the words, “how to”.  Zig and zag as life changes. Get creative. That approach gave me a super special graduation celebration for my son, a unique and personal black belt test and graduation for my students, tae kwon do instruction (including advancement) that never, not once, went on pause, and my small-town business, while challenged, is still hanging in there where I’ve witnessed others fail.

I was raised with a “can do” attitude to inspire a belief in myself, like many.  Sadly, fear and anger over COVID have driven the word “can’t” into our consciousness, almost like a knee jerk reaction to every new rule thrown into our path.  Our lives living alongside COVID have to go much beyond defeating that negativity with just a “can do” attitude.  It must also include “how to”.  I prefer to simply acknowledge where we are (with regulations and community health is what it is) and then figure out “how to” make all the cool things happen within those guidelines.  It’s a teachers’ mindset – much like investigating what makes a student tick and then turning on the light to greatness. That’s what I’ve done, and what I plan to keep doing, as we begin planning for schools to reopen and life to continue. Please don’t pause your life.  Don’t wait or fight or resist until things “get back to normal”.  Just live and figure out how to do it well, with where we are in this time and place.  Adaptability. It certainly inspires me and it helps life to go on, rather than pause and be sad in the waiting.

Master Karen Conover is the Owner and Head Instructor at KC's Family Tae Kwon Do.  She holds a Masters Degree in Music (Education) and is a 5th Degree Black Belt.

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