I like to think I’d have made a great Boy Scout, because I have based so much of my life on their motto, “Be prepared.” I have an emergency kit in my house at all times because I live in an area that is overdue for an earthquake. And having been through a few blizzards and enduring a five-day power outage in the middle of a very hot and humid July, I know first-hand that advance preparation can make a huge difference in the quality of life following a natural disaster. As I said, I’m a firm believer in being prepared.
So it should come as no surprise that I have enough supplies in my house to get us through a two-week quarantine if that should become necessary. I’m also washing my hands regularly, avoiding large crowds, and in general following CDC recommendations. I’ll miss the annual March Madness tournament this year because that’s one of the few sporting events I actually look forward to, but I understand why it was necessary to cancel it and most other large gatherings. Following safe-practice protocols in the face of a global pandemic requires a certain amount of sacrifice from each of us, and I’m okay with that.
What I’m not okay with is how quickly we are judging those whose emotional reaction to the Corona virus is different from ours. Even in the best of times, people are going to react to bad news differently, and this is uncharted territory for us all. Some people are in full-on panic mode, while others are calm and confident that this will pass soon. Some people are making jokes about the situation, some are tired of talking about it at all, and some can’t seem to talk about anything else. And all of that is okay.
Each of us responds to crises in our own way, and we have the right to do that. The problem is that we sometimes assume we also have the right to tell other people exactly how they should be feeling, but we don’t. We just get to control our own thoughts and feelings, and we are absolutely not in charge of anyone else’s emotions.
Personally, I don’t do panic mode well. I’m concerned about the Corona virus, but I’m choosing not to be in a panic because when I panic, I can’t do the things that I need to do to stay healthy and sane. I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, and I can’t take care of those who are depending on me. So my choice is to check the CDC site regularly to make sure I’m following the government guidelines, to be prepared for a possible home quarantine, and then….to just live my life as normally as I can. And yes, I sometimes joke about the situation because humor is, and always has been, one of my coping mechanisms.
I believe that we will get through this pandemic, and that we will also get through the economic downturn that will most surely follow. I believe that the best way to get through this is to realize we’re all in it together, and that taking pot-shots at one another is a sure-fire way to make the situation even worse. In other words, I choose to be as realistic as I must be and as positive as I can be in the upcoming weeks. Because personally, that’s the only choice I can live with.