Occasionally a certain catchword comes to my attention. When it does, I hear it everywhere I go and on everything I watch. A while back the word legacy dominated discussion following the retirements of renown sports figures. Lots of speculation occurred as to what impact an individual would have on those who followed. Automobile manufacturers often utilize the trendy terms, as Subaru did naming one of its models, the one I bought, Legacy.
Next, the oft-repeated word was innovation. Hard to believe that just a few years ago we valued innovation and its companions, ingenuity and invention. President Obama referenced innovation throughout his presidency. Innovation soon faded.
We entered a phase in which we couldn’t abide by anything average. Conversations and discussions only revolved around events described as epic. Successful individuals in their respective fields became icons. Eventually, catchwords lose their effect and fall back into the vocabulary pool. My word alert went into hibernation mode for a long time.
In February my sensors started to flash when the word momentum took over television. Starting with the Super Bowl I zeroed in on the word momentum. In talk of the National Basketball Association, on one ESPN show or another, momentum would be a factor in the discussion regarding playoff teams. Simultaneously, the country began to hold Democratic Primary Caucuses and Elections. I listened to quite a few political pundits and the word that crept up over and over was momentum. I watched as presidential candidate Vice President Joe Biden rode the wave of momentum.
I considered how I could use the physics of momentum in my life. I looked up the term and the definition that fit my need stated: Momentum refers to the impetus and driving force gained by the development of a process or course of events. I considered how I might energize a driving force to achieve my goals and become my best self. I would set aside time, I would prioritize my tasks, and I would focus.
I am aware of the almost inevitable circumstance, a shift in momentum. I have witnessed that shift in sports, in life, and in personal pursuits; the sudden reversal of fortune, when all the uncontrollable factors that work in one’s favor suddenly sway to the opponent. Momentum, then, is also measured in proportion to the force that can bring it to a halt. Momentum is the property of a moving body which determines the length of time required to bring it to rest when under the action of a constant force. In one month the deadly Covid-19 became the constant force, powerful enough to halt all forward progress of everything around the world. We have a seismic momentum shift.
Our governor has put our state on pause. What we now have is a moment of undetermined length. The moment belongs to each of us; in whatever way we are called to fill it. We fortunate ones follow stay-at-home directives or shelter-in-place in order to prevent spread of the highly infectious virus. Lonely and isolated from our loved ones, we accept the belief that our good health might reserve a bed or respirator for another.
Essential individuals continue to work, keeping all systems functioning, providing services and supplies. For those whose work has been halted, this is a distressing moment of financial hardship. What an agonizing moment this must be for the impoverished, those in abusive situations, and for women or men whose lifelines have dissolved while agencies meet critical needs related to the virus.
This is the moment Mr. Roger’s helpers rise to the occasion, neighbors who deliver meals, sew protective masks out of fabric scraps, or run errands for those who are house bound. This moment teaches patience and perseverance. Those whose work is caring for the sick have shifted into crisis response. They sacrifice their own health for the lives of their patients. Military terms suit this unprecedented catastrophe. Horrific casualties occur. This moment reveals the character of leaders. Heroes emerge.
In time forward motion will resume. We’ll reunite with our loved ones, attend weddings, rejoice in births, and sadly mourn deaths. Life will sweep us along. This moment of pause will be preserved in documentaries and individual accounts of courage. Praise and blame will be assigned with much inaccuracy.
In the meantime, it’s our duty to get the best value we can from this unexpected pause. Even if all we do is utilize the moment to know ourselves and cherish the unexpected gift of time. Let’s maximize this moment with the driving force of positive energy. When life accelerates once again, the momentum will be epic