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Take Control of Your Life

By Greg Kozera - | Sep 1, 2021

Our high school soccer season opened on the road last Friday. Our team didn’t play well initially. We controlled the ball had a lot of shots but couldn’t score. We made two big defensive mistakes. Our opponent scored off both to take a 2-0 lead. At half-time I told the boys, “We are going learn a lot about this team today. We are going to find out if we have heart. We are going to find out if we are quitters. Coach will tell you what tactics to change and how. That doesn’t mean anything if we can’t play with heart, hustle and not give up.” There was much we couldn’t control, like how our opponent played and their strategy. We couldn’t control their fans. We couldn’t control how the officials saw the game. We had 100% control over our attitude, our work ethic, our perseverance and our ability to play as a team.

In the second half we were a different team. The boys played with heart, hustle and enthusiasm. We tied the game and came close to scoring the winning goal several times right to the end. Our opponent was trying to run out the clock to preserve the tie. We were disappointed with the 2-2 tie but excited the boys never quit and fought through adversity. The boys now know they can come from behind. When we overcome adversity, it makes us stronger. The boys are stronger as individuals and as a team. They took control of the things they could control.

We are in the middle of another COVID wave partly caused by the Delta variant. After all we have been through Lynnda and I would just like to see it end like Polio and other diseases our country conquered. Sadly, we are hearing about more variants that could come our way. It is depressing at times. This may be like the flu requiring a shot every year to deal with the current variant. I have seen how deadly lockdowns are impacting people’s physical and mental health not to mention long term economic well-being, especially for young people behind in their education. In my opinion, lockdowns are not an option again. We will need to learn to live with this virus and find ways to still hug our grandchildren, go to work, concerts, athletic events and have in-person meetings safely.

Lynnda and I are doing a lot of traveling this year. We are now attending mostly in-person events and meetings. We get to attend church and see our parish family again. We spend quality time with family and friends. Going back to the 2020 restrictions isn’t an option. We scheduled four vacations into 2022, most with our kids and grandkids including a Disney trip. We plan to do them safely. Like my soccer team, we can’t control COVID. We can control our actions.

The world has changed since Lynnda and I got our polio vaccine in the 1960s. Growing up in the 1950s and 60s polio killed and crippled people, especially the young. I can still remember Danny, my second-grade friend, who could no longer run like the rest of us because of polio. Some adults lived in iron lungs because they could no longer breathe on their own. When the polio vaccine came out, everyone in our community went to the local grade school to get it. People were grateful.

There were no questions or protests. Fortunately, we didn’t have the internet. People didn’t trust politicians but they did trust doctors and public health officials. Vaccinations and saving lives wasn’t a political issue. Polio was eliminated.

Today it is hard to decide what is true. We can find arguments on both sides of any issue on the internet. Once politics is involved it really becomes difficult. Lynnda and I both have our first two COVID shots. We believed the risk was worth the benefits because we are part of the high-risk group. A lot of people are still afraid to get vaccinated against COVID.

We began noticing some vaccinated people getting COVID particularly those vaccinated in January. We considered getting the COVID booster and did our own research. I have a German friend whose company did research and saw a dramatic decrease in immunity 6 months after the second shot. My friend, is much younger than us, got his 3rd shot last month. Israel did a number of studies with results similar to my German friend showing immunity declined significantly after 6 months. They are recommending booster shots. Checking with my Israeli friends, they all had their 3rd shot. One executive told me his entire company had their 3rd shot. He said the number and type of side effects were similar to the first 2 doses. The worst side effect was a fever one woman had.

We evaluated the information and compared the risks to the benefits. There aren’t many people here who have three shots so we have the risk of blazing the trail. We intend to live a normal life. We want to continue to travel and see family in person. We don’t want to carry the virus to them. We made the decision. This week Lynnda and I got our COVID booster shot. We can’t control the COVID virus. We can control our actions. We can decide what kind of life we want to live and find ways to do it.

What happens in the world is out of our control. We can’t control the internet, what the major media reports or how they do it. Most news is negative. We can control our actions, what we read, what we watch and how long we watch it. We choose the people we spend time with. Are they positive and uplifting or negative and depressing? We become what we think about and allow into our brain. We have more control than we think. Choose wisely. Make a difference. All things are possible.