Around Town: If there was a handbook for life …

If there was such a thing as a handbook to life right now, it’d likely be filled with a lot of inaccuracies in light of this current pandemic.

As cases slowly rise here, and unfortunately surge in other parts of the country, we’re left wondering what will happen.

Will our kids go to school come the fall?

Will our sporting events and activities resume fully?

Will we be able to gather for Thanksgiving with our extended families?

There’s so much uncertainty that it’s mind-boggling and stressful.

It’s had me thinking that if I was writing a handbook to life, I might focus on a few key pillars or bullet points, so I’ll share them with you today.

1. Give people a break: We don’t know what anyone else’s COVID situation is really like. So many are struggling financially and emotionally, so we have to be a bit more sensitive and understanding in our dealings with others. A person you encounter may be fighting to keep their business afloat or searching for a new job after being furloughed from an organization they’d been with for decades. We just don’t know what anyone else is experiencing.

2. Be good to yourself: We have to take care of ourselves, whether that’s through exercise, human connections, meditation, gardening or something along those lines. There are many ways to show self-love, and I believe it’s needed now more than ever before. Making time for ourselves isn’t selfish; it’s necessary.

3. Nothing will go as planned: All of those plans we’d made or thought about for the summer of 2020 sure went out the window, didn’t they? We’re learning that nothing is going according to the plan. Being able to adjust is more crucial of a skill than ever before. As long as we stay flexible and nimble, we’ll be OK. And it’s important not to get discouraged when we can’t follow through with every plan we had laid out. Taking detours is the new way of life.

Through all of this, I’m so glad it’s summertime.

A night out recently meant a walk through Kirby Park, people-watching as I sat on a hill, and a stop at Malacari’s newest ice-cream spot on Route 11 in Edwardsville for an M&M Flurry.

Had you asked me a year ago if that was my idea of a night out, I’d have said you were crazy, but in these ever-changing times nights out are much different.

Also in these ever-changing times, we have to remind ourselves that the so-called handbooks to life are non-existent. We’re all embracing life differently than before.

While there is little we can control right now in the world, we can control the way we react to people, the way we treat ourselves and the way we deal with deviating from plans.

And when you’re feeling down, do what I did recently and make a stop at one of Malacari’s ice cream locations for a fun treat called a Flurry. M&M is my favorite variety, but there are many flavors from which to choose.

Mike McGinley is the Times Leader Media Group’s major accounts executive. Reach him at [email protected] or 570-704-3945.

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