I’ve learned a lot in the past two months. Surprising things. Things that make me happy to realize about myself even though I spent a lifetime denying exactly what I discovered. I’ve also learned a lot about other people in general, about life, about what’s important – some things warm the heart, others… not so much.
First and foremost, I learned that I AM a people person. Who knew? I always prided myself on being a loner, a rebel, a standalone kind of gal… Not anymore. I now gladly admit that I miss my social gatherings whether with friends or just friendly unknown faces in the crowd. Passing smiles and warm “how do you dos?” The new look of terrified eyes behind the masks is disheartening and cold. Not to mention, for the self-proclaimed claustrophobic, an exercise in anxiety.
Speaking of anxiety, our views on mental health have seemed to fly out the window. Odd, because although the powers that be insist that ‘data determines dates,’ it wasn’t that long ago in our history that we all began to realize that mental health drives physical well-being. Where is the balance? Although watching a celebrity sing or offer words of comfort from their mansion in Beverly Hills is uplifting to some, it does not quell fear or anxiety for those standing in a food pantry line while on the road to losing everything that they’ve worked for…
People do not need babysitters. Yes, you’ll always have your outliers, but let’s not let them dictate our choices. We’ve been watching and we understand what’s at stake. We don’t need to be put in the corner for ‘our own good’ anymore. I was at the boardwalk on Saturday in Wildwood, NJ for a much-needed outing on a beautiful day. Lots of people were there with me and they were all respectful and distanced with their own people, especially when standing in line waiting for food. If someone was there and felt uncomfortable, they certainly didn’t need to stay, but again no one was invading anyone else’s space. There were many elderly there enjoying the boards as well, most of them not donning masks because they too wanted the fresh air. It was nice to see everyone smiling and enjoying themselves. Amazing that the very next day there was a photo of the Boardwalk posted on Facebook complaining that people are rude, reckless and stupid for ignoring ‘social distancing.’ (A term which I hope dies, the moment this pandemic does) The sad truth is that the angle of the photo was a deceiving illusion. Much like when you look downward along the beach and it gives the appearance that a million people are piled on top of each other, when in reality, they are not. Perspective is a trickster… I was on the boardwalk exactly at the time the photo was reportedly taken and people were not all over each other. Police officers were posted at every street, and never once had to remind people to ‘behave.’
Another sad truth? In this lock-down children are getting lost in the shuffle and that makes me sad. Yes, the family time is wonderful, however, weren’t they headed down enough of a slippery cyber slope before all this hit? They need interactions with their peers, this is not healthy for them to be cooped up and kept to virtual playdates. It doesn’t matter if they’re 5, or 18 and a senior in high school. They deserve better than this… send them back to school in the Fall. Take precautions, and of course those who are uncomfortable remain at home, but allow these children the freedom they need to grow in a society that has become paralyzed by fear.
Hypocrites. What has become a blaring truth is the hypocrisy surrounding this pandemic. Starting with the fact that we were told to shelter in place to flatten the curve. The curve was flattened weeks ago. This was never supposed to be a position we were to remain in until a vaccine is created. We were also told we had to protect the vulnerable and the elderly, yet some states directly put nursing homes at risk with executive orders. The very people we originally aimed to protect, were compromised and then allowed to succumb to the virus alone. ALONE. Let that sink in. A family member, at minimum risk, who could be by their side as their advocate in their time of need, was not allowed to do so. There is no reason a healthy 40-year-old cannot choose to be with their family member and then simply quarantine when they return home. This is the most disgraceful part of this lock-down.
I think we’ve all learned that everyone in the political arena and the mainstream media has an agenda. All sides. Some agendas are fruitful, some are not… Anger in politics is blinding. Reporters are paid to see past their anger and report facts. Stop penning headlines that are deceiving, when you know that most people are not going to read through the entire article to get to the story which you’ve painted in a less than truthful manner with the headline. As for politicians, they are chosen to enable policies that are for the greater good. They are not voted into office to buck the rival party at every turn, simply because they have grown to loath the person or persons. Grow up, all of you, and work together. Focus on what is at hand, not what’s in your hand, and stop trying to use this nightmare for things that are not relevant to the suffering of the American people right now.
In closing, I guess I should have said this in the beginning, but I would think its common sense. All life is precious, at every stage. No one wants anyone to suffer or die, but health is a compilation of varying facets. Physical, mental, emotional and financial well-being. We all have compromised facets at points in our lives. We’ve come to expect that, and we’ve learned to meet those times with the arsenal created from the remaining facets. For a great many, this pandemic has taken away 3, if not 4 of those strengthening facets, causing many to simply crumble under the weight of a disease they statistically can fight off naturally.
The biggest lesson to learn in lock-down is when to say it’s over. That time has come. Let’s take what we’ve learned and move forward responsibly, before the damage destroys the very fiber of who we are, not just as a nation, but as human beings. It’s time to work on our collective well-being. Respectfully and responsibly.