Survival. A difficult topic to write about if ever there was one.
Luckily for my family, we have quite a bit of survival experience. The lessons for today’s survival are brought to you by bedbugs. These little creatures are nearly immune to all forms of chemical warfare and they nest in the tiniest cracks.
In other words, if you get bedbugs, you are going to be doing a lot of work heat-treating everything you own, your friends and neighbors are going to treat you like you are carrying a pandemic, and you will spend the next three months having nightmares about the little creatures.
At least, you will if you’re me.
But, I survived the bedbug pandemic. Three times. Twice because the treatment didn’t work at the first house we moved into and a third time moving into a furnished apartment in Cairo, Egypt.
And, you have pretty good odds of surviving the coronavirus pandemic as well. I even read about a 99-year-old man with preexisting conditions who has recovered from the coronavirus.
First Lesson from BedBugs: Life Goes On
When we were pariahs on the missions center where we first experienced bed bugs, it felt like life was stopped. We had to heat-treat our clothes and some basic toys. Then I moved the family out and I was the only one allowed into our home for 3 days while I prepped it for the exterminator. We had enough stuff moved out so that we could stay out of the house for 2 weeks, living in another center house. After all of that and the exterminator confirming that the bed bugs looked dead, we moved back in.
3 weeks later, bedbugs were back.
Yeah, it felt like it would never end. Kind of like these stay at home orders going around like wildfire. If you feel like it is impossible to survive the next 2 weeks to 6 months, let me tell you. Survival is possible. And, life goes on.
Second Lesson from BedBugs: It’s Not as Bad as You Think
My daughter tends to attract creatures of every stripe and color, and she reacts to them. This gave us an early warning system the last time we experienced bed bugs. We were in a fully furnished flat in Cairo that had been empty for about 6 months so most of the bedbugs were dead, some were dormant.
Because of the quality of mattresses, we did not notice the tell-tale blood spots until later, but when my daughter woke up with the track mark hives that are characteristic of the little buggers’ feeding patterns, we knew we had bed bugs.
A moment of honesty: I panicked.
But, after taking some time to remember to breathe, we went into action. We heat treated our clothes, sought treatment from the landlord and when she refused, we moved out.
While this was another round with the little guys, it had gotten easier: we knew what to do and how to respond.
In the same way, the novelty of a global response to a virus outbreak is something that feels worse than it really is. When we get out on the other side of this, we will have better tools to deal with disasters and plan for business and health survival.
Third Lesson from BedBugs: It Is Serious
Panic breeds disaster. Thoughtful proactive decision-making is needed to survive and thrive in any situation we find ourselves.
Our landlady was not willing to seriously approach the fact that the bugs in her furniture were not merely ants or cockroaches, so she lost the income of renters because she was not willing to seriously, proactively respond to a real situation.
In the same way, people who have not approached this pandemic seriously have gotten infected, some have died, because they didn’t take it seriously.
The novel coronavirus is serious because it is a strand that has not been in human populations before and it moves fast. Is it vastly more deadly than any other coronavirus out there? Probably not. But that doesn’t mean it’s not serious.
Read the research, do what it takes to care for yourself and your family.
Fourth Lesson from BedBugs: Every Adversity is an Opportunity
When we were living at the missions base, I was working as a janitor and we had housing that was 25-50% cheaper than going market rates. My business therefore languished, understandably so.
When the bedbugs facilitated our moving of the center to a non-furnished place, Paul Davis Solutions became more than just an idea.
It had to, because I needed to pay more bills and the drive to the center meant that I could not remain a janitor anyway.
In the same way, this might be the time where you finally create a digital product for your brick and mortar, it could be the time when you write a book, or it could just be the moment that you take enough time out of the week to connect with a spouse, with children, or long-lost friends.
Whatever happens, this is an opportunity to refocus and reset.
Fifth Lesson from BedBugs: Don’t Stop Living
One of the most nefarious forms of panic is depression. To stop living, and decide that it is easier to just give up.
As the coronavirus pandemic wears on, you need to find ways to keep living in the midst of the 21st century’s great depression.
After dealing with the bedbugs, we had to find a new place, keep working to pay the bills, keep teaching our kids. The same thing happens now: keep creating, get outside (following your local distancing ordinances), join our business group where we help business owners survive and thrive in today’s changing economy.
Whatever you do, do it with some pizzaz!
Life is worth living, no matter what little creatures are making it interesting: a bedbug or a coronavirus.