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By David RichmanNational Director, Eaton Vance Advisor Institute

On October 16, The Wall Street Journal published an extremely sobering perspective on how long we may be living through this "new normal." In "The Long Shadow of the Pandemic: 2024 and Beyond," Nicholas Christakis, director of the Human Nature Lab at Yale University, walks readers through three phases: the immediate pandemic period, the intermediate period and the post-pandemic period.

Spoiler alert, Dr. Christakis believes we are less than half way through the immediate pandemic period and will not reach the post-pandemic period until sometime in 2024 — told you it was sobering.

Here are two questions for us to contemplate:

  1. What if he is right?
  2. Can you help?

You CAN help, BIG time. Each of your clients is grappling with the challenges of the day in their own unique way. You know your clients and have jurisdiction to go deeper in conversation, be a "source of strength" in the lives of your clients and chase positivity.

A quick story

During one of my wife's biweekly Zoom gatherings of six women, they focused on the following question after reading Dr. Christakis' essay: "What are the specific things we can be doing to remain positive and active in this protracted "new normal?"

The variance in responses was illuminating. On the most uplifting end of the spectrum was Lucy who is 81 years young. You would never believe it if you met her - she looks 65 and acts 50. Lucy made a choice to see this moment as the most fertile time of her life and is living that vision every day. Lucy:

  1. Joined biweekly art classes — she hadn't picked up a paint brush since college
  2. Is taking online college courses
  3. Attends virtual symphony concerts and web-broadcast play
  4. Got involved politically for the first time in her life
  5. Works with an organization to teach reading to young children

As my wife said: "As long as we can stay healthy and safe, perhaps this is our time. Can we emulate Lucy and see this moment as a gift to explore and grow rather than planning our next vacation or our next dinner out?"

What can you do? How about curating all the great stories from the "Lucys" in your client base and share those stories to inspire clients to live in this moment rather than waiting for the moment to pass.

Bottom line: If Dr. Christakis is correct, 2024 seems too far off for you or your clients to simply exist. Chase positivity to help them reframe their perspectives and inspire them to use this time to expand their horizons.