We all need to breathe.
Deep and slow. Not hurried and sharp and “OMG, I have to get to Costco to see if they have toilet paper.”
You have enough toilet paper. You’re only buying it because in some odd way it makes you feel more in control of a world that already seemed out of control and COVID-19 hit the BOOST button. Same thing with bottled water. (Our water system is not threatened. Stop with the water, people.)
It all feels like Shitsville. But it’s not.
Hear me out.
- Yes, we are on the verge of a pandemic.
- Yes, we have morons in our government.
- Yes, our public health response is behind and our health industry – which is really good at prescribing pills – can’t prescribe pills for this one.
It seems like a good time to panic, right?
See, in bad times, the only thing we can control is our attitude.
The only thing. And what we do right now teaches our children more fear or more love. Those are the two choices. Those are always the only two choices we have: fear or love.
What we do now tells so much about who we are. And our kids are watching.
Now, I’m not telling you to bury your head in the sand, listen to idiots, or get on a cruise ship. Nope.
I am telling you to prepare intelligently.
Consider your age and health, and the age and health of those you spend time around. Consider your health habits. We all know to wash our hands and cover our mouths when we cough. We’ve known that since we were 4 but we just got lazy.
This is a prime time to remember more golden rules: honor your elders and take care of the weaker among us.
- Do you have older relatives, neighbors, friends? Check on them now. Don’t wait. Make sure they’re ready in case the call comes to stay away from crowds, including the supermarket.
- Do you have friends with health conditions that make them more vulnerable? Check on them now. Be prepared to help out if your community enters the next phase and public restrictions are put in place.
I’m sitting in Santa Cruz, California as I type this blogpost. We have our first known case of the Corona virus and we’re 20 minutes away from the hotspot in Silicon Valley. Changes to our lives could come very quickly at this point. I’m over 50. And you know what?
I’m not scared of this virus.
I didn’t panic-buy any toilet paper or hand sanitizer for my house. We’ve got soap. We’ll be okay. I did advise my workplace to prepare … and they did their purchasing while supplies were still available.
I did buy some gear for my garage gym in case I’m advised to stay home. But I’m going to keep paying for my gym membership and I urge you to do the same. Small gym owners depend on that revenue flow to keep their doors open. As long as I have income coming in, I’m paying my gym membership.
What am I scared of?
Our collective reaction as a society of individuals raised by a me-first generation that binged on shows like “The Walking Dead” and invented super-stores like Costco and Walmart. That’s a prescription for shortages, riots, and lack of concern for your fellow human beings.
That’s what I’m scared of.
I’m scared that when the going gets rough, we will reveal ourselves to be a nation of sheep. And the sheepdogs will be too overwhelmed to handle things. The entire pasture will be a trampling, panicking mess. And that our kids will learn to be fear-driven individuals out for themselves, instead of a community of human beings who care for each other.
But we don’t have to go there.
- We don’t have to get to that point.
- We don’t have to panic.
- We can take care of each other.
- We can show our kids how to handle tough situations.
We can control our breathing, control our attitudes, and control our lives, even in turbulent times.
Let’s all take a big, deep breath and stop the panicking.
Wash your hands, be kind to your neighbors (especially the health care workers!), and face this virus like the caring and intelligent human beings I know you can be. World, you’ve shown me this beautiful side of yourselves before. Show me again.
And if I need a roll of toilet paper, give me one, okay?
We’re going to get through this together. Big love to you all.