Do we really want to stop and think about COVID-19?
Not really but it’s probably a good idea. What are we thinking about the current state of affairs? Some people are scared, some are trying to be considerate of others, some are angry at being ‘told what to do’, some are confused and some are trying desperately *not* to think about it.
Where are you?
I’m somewhere between considerate and scared and confused. I’m considerate in that I wear a mask and stay home if I don’t need to go out. I’m scared because I have auto-immune issues and reading about the outcomes of people who have underlying health problems, I worry about what would happen if I get sick. I’m confused like most rational people are because every day seems to bring news about new data, new suggested guidelines, new treatment possibilities, and it is an unending deluge of news. Everything from first person reports of medical staff in NYC, to people who have recovered, to families who have lost someone, to people at armed protests. It is utterly overwhelming to try to stay up to date.
One of the things I think is most important to remember is that everyone, even those we don’t have opinions in common with, are a mix of things, just like I am. Just like we all are. I may not agree with someone, but I’m trying really hard not to assume irrational reasons for our differences. For example, I know an essential worker who snapped this week and ripped a new one for all the ‘meditate and chill’ people on Instagram. He was furious at all the people, who he called “influencer wanna-be’s”, who were trying to Marie Kondo (I love her so I’m not talking smack) and yoga (I also recently started yoga so hear me out) their way into the perfect life (which I definitely don’t have and never will, and if I even got close nobody would know it because I don’t put it on Instagram anyway). He was angry at the fact that people were talking about being home like it made them superior. He’s an essential worker so it’s not like he has a choice. He has a wife and two children so he worries about being the virus home and making them sick. He’s tired of trying to politely navigate a line between wishing he could be home to wishing he could tell the people who get to stay home to shove it.
Isn’t that kind of what we’re all doing? Trying to politely navigate a line between worlds where we own our privilege and don’t make our friends feel bad if they have less, or more, than we do? Aren’t we all just trying to create a map that will get us out of COVID and back into what I think of as ‘real life’. I’m very lucky in that I can work from home. I know that. I’m not trying to figure out which bills to pay and trying to decide what I can cut to make things balance out against a dwindling savings account. However, I have lived like that before and know how it feels to decide between a big box of ramen and a deal on tuna at ten cans for $10. I’ve lived a life where I lied to the guy who came to shut off the gas and told him I had paid the bill from the winter and then had my brother offer to pay the bill. It was a decade+ ago and I still remember the cringe worthy moment when I had to say thank you to him and I felt lower than dirt because I needed help.
I think that’s what a lot of the frustration comes from with the virus and all its related issues. People not wanting to feel like a failure. People not wanting to feel worthless because they need help. People not wanting to ask for help because they can’t bring themselves to open up to the possibility of hearing ‘no’. People who are afraid to hear they have no value to those around them.
So if we’re going to stop and think about COVID-19, maybe we should stop and think about why people are acting the way they do. I’m not saying people should be bringing weapons into public spaces and scaring others. I’m also not saying they should be denied their voice. Oh? You thought I was going to have a single point of view? No. Not here. Not with this.
I’ve decided to stop and think because I want to figure out where I stand, not because I want to tell someone else what to think or what is right or wrong for them. So when you stop and think about you and your situation and what you believe, don’t lose track of the people who may not live like you do. There’s nothing wrong with any of us, we just all unique in our vision of what the world should look like.