The First Day of Spring – Last Friday was the first day of spring, but it felt nothing like it. We’re under “shelter at home” orders due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s gray and gloomy outside. The world is falling apart; we are on the verge of a massive recession as all, but essential businesses have been forced to close. Schools are closed, probably for the foreseeable future, and anyone who can work from home is doing so.
I’m scared of the virus, which is not only deadly, but spreading so quickly there doesn’t seem to be any end in sight. But I am also afraid of the potential economic fallout that this virus is causing. I can still work, luckily. So far, I’ve only seen a couple of clients being severely impacted. The rest I’m anxious about because I don’t know what is going on for them.
None of us know how long this will continue or what the economy will look like after it’s over.
I do feel good, though, because my company has been doing well. And I’m in the best financial position I have been in since the last recession. I’m trying to focus on that and stay as positive as I can. It’s easy to spin quickly into anxiety if I go too far out on the “what if” branch.
But I know that things are going to change for my clients and that will affect me. The fear comes from not knowing – who, when, how much, etc. will be impacted and how that will trickle down to my business.
This touches a nerve and spikes my financial PTSD. I feel so worried that things could repeat. I don’t want to lose my house or my car. And I don’t want my son to be forced to move home because I can no longer help him out financially. I don’t want to have to close my business and try to find a job during possibly the worst job market of my lifetime.
I’ve lived through so much already, I really don’t want to do it again. This is what I’m most scared of.
And, it makes me mad. I have my own home again, I have a new car for the first time in 13 years. And I’m able to help my son so that he can go to college. I feel secure for the first time in a long time.
Financial security is more important to me than most anything else. And I feel like this virus is trying to take that away from me and it makes me mad.
I’ve worked hard to get where I am, and I deserve that hard-won security. I deserve the success and the freedom that comes with it. I don’t want to have to struggle again. I’m so tired of fighting to get ahead financially. I don’t want to slide backwards. I’m committed to continuing to thrive. I want to move forward, relax and enjoy my life, and feel like I’m moving toward a secure future.
If this virus takes all that away from me, I’m going to feel defeated. How much fight do I have in me?
Can I use the fear and the anger to fuel me? I need to. I don’t have a choice. It’s just me taking care of me and being there for my son, my employees, and my clients. No one else.
I must step up and be proactive. Letting fear win will not help. I cannot let the fear grip me, and I must fight back. I must be proactive, stay strong and persevere.
So, I must pivot. Both personally and professionally. I cannot afford to sit and wait to see what’s going to happen. So I need to take whatever action I can right now. I need to eliminate any excess spending I can, without resentment or fear. No going into victim mode, no feeling sorry for myself. I must do it from a place of power. Taking control because I chose to. Stepping up and being proactive to minimize the long-term effect.
The two things that come to mind are loan deferments for my mortgage and my car loan. I don’t know if I can get them, but I can ask. No harm in trying. Since the tax filing deadline has been extended, I need to postpone paying my taxes. Saving cash wherever I can in case I need it to cover other essentials.
I hate to cancel the cleaning service I just started, but I can, so I must. Promising myself I will restart it as soon as I can since I worked so hard to get to a place where I could do this for myself. I’m not depriving myself, I’m making strategic choices. Not coming from a place of fear, but a place of power.
Things are changing very quickly.
I can get out ahead of this. I can make changes now and not stick my head in the sand, pretending things aren’t changing like I did last time. They are changing. They are changing very quickly and I can change quickly too. If I can be smart and decide how I want to face this economic pandemic I will remain in charge of my life.
There are forces beyond my control, no question, but there are also things I can do to help mitigate the fallout from all this craziness. I can’t prevent the pandemic from happening, and I can’t protect myself from being impacted by it. But I can choose to face it head on. Choose to be brave, to stand up to the fear, to fight back against the panic, to armor up and take care of myself, my family, my clients and my team.
I am smart, I am strong, and I am brave. This crisis will not define me or my financial life. I will choose to do everything within my power to stay in charge of my situation.
I will choose to pivot, to adapt, to accept that I don’t have complete control but that I can do the best I can. Every day I can keep trying to make the best decisions I can, given what I know at that point. I can fight back and keep moving forward. Doing everything I can think of to help myself and those within my circle.
I will be okay. I will get through this and so will you. We all will. We don’t know what the other side of this looks like, but we must keep fighting until we get there. Even if it’s not until the first day of next spring. Eventually, the sun will come back out and the flowers will bloom and financially, we will recover again.
Sherry Lutz Herrington is the owner of Sherrington Financial Fitness, a business consulting and accounting firm specializing in strategic business planning and solid financial accounting for businesses. She is also the author of Strong Women Thriving (https://strongwomenthriving.com/), a blog which focuses on empowering women to be financially savvy, particularly after experiencing financial abuse. Sherry is currently writing a new book that both shares her personal story and addresses financial abuse. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. https://www.facebook.com/groups/womensurivingfinancialabuse