Douglas A. Boneparth is a Westfield resident and Founder of Bone Fide Wealth, LLC, a boutique wealth management firm in New York City, and co-author of The Millennial Money Fix. Contact Douglas to learn how he’s not your parent’s financial advisor.
These past few weeks have had their moments. With everyone in triage mode, it’s been hard to find the center. Last week in particular, my family desperately began laying down a foundation to ensure that we could all be there for one another in addition to being there for those who rely on us. We created schedules for the kids, cooked food for the week ahead, secured entertainment and stocked up on alcohol. A requirement for two working professionals with two young children. We knew this would be a difficult balancing act.
Narrator: They had no idea.
I imagine it’s going to take me years to process all of my feelings around this moment in our lives. Currently, I’m trying my hardest to keep the initial wave of emotions from cascading into the lives of those around me. I know my wife, children and mother-in-law (who’s quarantined with us) will do a lot better if I can support them as much as possible. I also know I will fail at this, only to find myself being lifted up by the very people I’ve vowed to support in the first place. And that’s okay. We’re family.
But in the quiet moments that I prefer not to have alone with my thoughts, I’ve been trying to pinpoint my initial feelings regarding COVID-19. In my attempts to do so, I have mostly found myself determined, angry, sad and privileged. It’s precarious stuff to dwell on any feeling for long because I then run the risk of becoming too caught up and too unproductive. Worst of all, I could drag others down with me. To avoid all that, I am writing this, selfishly, in hopes of saving myself some energy when things inevitably become overwhelming once again.
I am determined. I am determined to be there for those who need me. For now, this is my family, clients and friends. Frankly, my job, both personally and professionally, is to take care of others. It’s one of the things I do best and now is the perfect time to show it. I’m determined to not only get through this, but to also learn as much as I can from it. By doing so, I can further improve my life and the lives of those around me so that the next time something of this magnitude affects our lives (and there will be a next time), I can be as prepared then as I am now.
I am angry. I am angry at our leadership. My grandfather taught me, among so many things, how to be a leader. A lot of what I do in my life is to honor him for the sacrifices he’s made for me — for all of us. It is through his lessons and my own experiences with leadership that I can spot a failure when I see it. Most importantly, I know what it’s like to fail in a leadership role. And make no mistake about it, what you are seeing is a failure plain and simple. Anything outside of shutting it all down and protecting our citizens, especially our healthcare workers, is a failure. It’s not too late, but we’re sadly drifting in the wrong direction.
I am sad. I am sad because life is going to get harder for everyone moving forward. We now get to live in a new state of anxiety. The daily terror alerts created in the aftermath 9/11 are still fresh in my mind and I’d expect something similar to take place with COVID-19. Imagine hearing updates about the virus each morning as you and your family continuously wonder when and where it will pop up again. When this happens, everyone takes a giant step back. We lose some of our freedom and, unfortunately, some more than others.
I am privileged. I am privileged to have everything I need to deal with the circumstances. My family is safe. We have food and toilet paper. By inviting my mother-in-law to stay with us we received an extra set of hands with the kids. Despite all of this, it’s still proving to be a massive challenge (both the quarantining and my MIL being here). While I can barely say it’s getting easier by the day, I know there are lots of people whose situation is only getting worse. These stories will permeate our brains across all forms of media for years to come.
This is where I’m at right now. I am very much still grappling with the enormity of it all. Still unable to get my arms around the entire thing. I constantly go back and forth between believing we will be okay in the long term and the realities of daily life while being quarantined at home with two little children. If anything, I’m determined to make that my silver lining when we’ve made it through this.