We can no longer take for granted what we used to take for granted. This has been true for some time, but the COVID-19 pandemic brings it into sharp focus. Hugging someone hello. Shaking hands. Picking up our grandchildren from school. Feeling invincible. March Madness. Worshipping with others. All this and more, we used to take for granted.
The COVID-19 pandemic is no laughing matter, but we do not have to stop laughing. Please do not stop smiling.
Please DO talk with family, with friends, with neighbors about how we are all in this together. Building walls or pointing fingers at others, or making groups of people into “others,” will increase the eventual suffering for all of us.
Please DO think intergenerational. Those of us over the age of 60 will probably need some assistance during this next period of time. For those of us under 60, here’s an opportunity to actually act like we’re all in this together.
Please DO treat yourself nicely, both physically and spiritually. Don’t let fear overwhelm you. Get a good night’s sleep. Eat good, healthy meals. Talk honestly with yourself and with your neighbors. Be your own best friend and trust your own advice.
Crisis offers danger and opportunity. During “social distancing” or any mandatory quarantine, let’s be creative with our new “free time.” In fact, don’t even use the term “free time.” Rather, let’s take advantage of all the time we have. This orientation will keep us healthier. Write a book. Share good movie suggestions. Join online discussion groups. Start to sit quietly with yourself and just be.
Our national response to COVID-19 has been too little too late. As we finally start to test the majority of our people, we will discover that the virus has been here for months and that the numbers are exponentially bigger than what we now think. It is entirely possible that our country will go on lockdown sometime in the next month. This is not scare tactics. It is the reality of living in a society where we are all interconnected. Let’s not react out of fear. How we conduct ourselves in the next few months will impact our children, our neighbors, our health-care workers, our communities and our institutions.
Complex global issues don’t recognize international boundaries. This is true whether it’s COVID-19 or climate change or even hungry, homeless children. One of the opportunities of this current crisis is that we might better understand that we are all members of Team Sapiens.
We can and will get through the current crisis, but there’s no way around it. In fact, getting through to the other side of this is the only way out. Some of us will die before getting through to the other side. Most of us will know of, maybe even love, someone who dies because of COVID-19.
I usually write about conscious aging. Today I write about conscious living. COVID-19 might actually help us live with intention. Let’s not live through this crisis out of habit.
Let’s respect the danger, hardship and loss. Let’s appreciate the opportunities.
Marc Blesoff writes the monthly Conscious Aging column in Wednesday Journal.