Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Rethinking who and what we are

by Rick Blechta

There is that famous curse — purportedly originating in China (but that’s unproven) — “May you live in interesting times.” Well, that’s come true — in spades over the past two weeks.

The lives of everyone in the world have been dramatically upended, and based on my own small experiences, it will take a definitive toll on all of us. It’s very difficult to not feel anxious and worried all the time. Go to the grocery store and you see shelves that are empty, or nearly so. How will we all survive? Since there’s no definitive answer to that question, it’s hard to avoid slipping into hopelessness and despair.

Now is also the time when we find out what our leaders are made of. The reality of that is very stark in some countries. Bad choices made at the ballot box are coming home to roost. And boy, does that add to anxiety levels. The people who are in charge have no idea what they’re doing. Just great…

There’s also the issue of how long this new reality that’s been forced on us will rule what we do and cannot do.

My motto in life tends to be “deal with it.” I try very hard not to resist things that I cannot control. It’s better to go with the flow. Life with all the restrictions we have right now is very different, but does pushing back against it have any effect? Not really. Our best option as human beings is to try to do no harm. I’ve learned of people I know who, unbelievably, are pretending nothing is wrong. They are living their lives as if they can bull their way through this pandemic. “I’m not going to let COVID-19 tell me what to do!” The simple fact is, these people are dangerous, not only to themselves but to all of us. Simply put, they are being incredibly selfish.

Fortunately, though, I have imaginary friends I can hang out with. The world they inhabit doesn’t have a major health crisis upending everything. I’m spending some quality time there.

You can do it too, whether you’re a writer or a reader. Last week I wrote about favourite books we can return to when we’re in need of some comfort. That post now seems rather prophetic.

Read, my friends! Escape reality for a bit. It will greatly help reduce your stress and anxiety levels. You can’t do much about coronavirus other than taking precautions to keep yourself and those with whom you interact safe. That leaves a lot of time on your hands.

I wish everyone the very best of health!

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