Wednesday, March 18, 2020

I Have Some Thoughts

Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
I honestly think that's the best way to approach this pandemic.
I think we all need to keep both the hoping and the planning in healthy balance.

To those of you who erred on the side of hoping for the best:
I am very sorry if you're struggling to find supplies like toilet paper, diapers, and specific grocery items, but it doesn't help you or anyone else to go online and call all the people who stocked up irrational, panicked, and stupid--even if you're right, which, in a great many cases, you are not.
Once upon a time I took for granted that I could run to the store at any time for whatever I needed, and then I ran out of toilet paper in a snowstorm and had to shovel my driveway and then proceed to slip and slide on unsafe roads all the way to the grocery store, all while needing to pee.
I have not made that mistake since.
That to say: stocking up on supplies, whenever you are able to, is a good practice even on sunny days with smooth roads ahead. You never know when a bad storm or a virus or some other large or small disaster will keep you from getting what you need and want. I don't think it's ever a good idea to take your access to goods and services for granted. I know that might not be helpful to hear right now, but it's something to keep in mind. 
People who stocked up for impending crisis and possible quarantine are not stupid. Some went a bit overboard in their anxiety, but even they aren't stupid. Just human. 
And I think a lot of us planner-aheaders are willing to share our excesses if people would stop bashing us online long enough to ask for help. Right now, I think a lot of people who are willing to share are afraid to admit we have some excess because of the unkindness from our friends and family in our social media feeds every day.
Speaking of friends and family, I know you may not be concerned for yourself, but please be kind to those who are. The at-risk population: the elderly, the already-sick -- they're not expendable.
I have seen so much "Only the old people are dying, so I don't care," rhetoric that I want to be sick. 

I hope you wouldn't walk into your grandparents' house with the flu.
I hope you wouldn't come to work with a fever.
I hope you wash your hands multiple times a day every day of your life.

What's being asked of you, in the face of this highly infectious virus that's, to some unknown degree, more severe than the flu, is that you extend to the grandparents of strangers the same courtesy I imagine you'd extend to your own elderly loved ones. Right now, that means social distancing, and I know that's both an emotional and monetary hardship for a lot of people, but it's not forever. We might never know exactly how many lives we saved by taking these measures, but we will know exactly how many we didn't. 
Please leave your attitude at the door. Please recognize that there are very valid human fears involved in all of this. Please ask yourself whether you're healthfully hoping for the best, or just channeling your own valid fear into denial. And please, please ask for help if you need it. 

To those of you who erred on the side of planning for the worst:
I don't have too much to share with you that you don't already know. You know your anxieties are running too high. You know some of your actions could be hurting other people. You know you have more toilet paper than you can use this month. I submit to you that looking for ways to bless others with your preparedness will help you as well as them. I truly think it will bring you joy and loosen the tightness in your chest. 
If you're currently working from home and still getting paid, please consider setting aside the money you would have been spending on gas and coffee and take-out and all those events that were canceled, and sharing it with those who are out of work, not getting paid, and not sure how they're going to make rent this month. Think too of the single parents and the small businesses, tenants living on your properties, and those struggling with depression in isolation.
Please let your mind dwell on opportunities for compassion rather than fear, for your own sake as much as anyone else's.

I guess what I'm trying to say, to everyone, is let's be kind to each other. Let's help each other, get through this together, and learn as much as we can from this season.

Coming soon on my blog: Book Recommendations for Isolation.


  1. Great post! I wish more people were being empathetic and kind during stuff like this. <3

    1. Yeah...we hear so much in our history books about how people banded together in times of crisis, and I'm just not seeing that happen here.