There’s something about being at home for so much time, being indoors without much validity towards going out… It seems like there’s less to talk about. When I look at the news, most of it is about Coronavirus, figuring out what numbers have gone up and what changes need to happen around us. Throw in the occasional foolish mistake of people who aren’t quite sheltering in place, and that almost sums it up.

Because the more I look at the news that comes up when people aren’t out and about as much, the more I seem to see things changing in the world we aren’t quite living in right now. I mean, the Olympic games just got moved back an entire year. Am I the only one who didn’t realize that was possible until it happened?

More than I thought could happen, there are an abundance of changes around us that never seemed like something that could occur until it did. Until these changes keep occurring. It’s a new kind of status quo. 

I know I’ve talked about this idea before, but what’s happening now is a bit bigger. After all, the last time I mentioned it here, or even in this one and this one too… They all seemed like big things both personally and nationally.

This time, the scale really doesn’t compare.

Photo by Bluehouse Skis on Unsplash

Earlier, I mentioned that the virus and reactionary news just about sums up everything there is to talk about… Almost. There’s another thing I could bring into the conversation.

I could talk about the essentials.

With the shelter-in-place orders as they are right now, we’re technically only supposed to leave our homes for what’s considered essential. That’s food, emergencies (actual emergencies, not just panic), etc. When we look at the amount of people filing for unemployment rising and the number of cases around us doing the same, there are some people still going into work. Some people who have no choice.

Because we need them.

These are the healthcare workers, the grocery store clerks, shipping carriers, restaurant workers, manufacturers, and quite a few others. Think about the way we treat some of these people on a daily basis. In one instance, a woman in Pennsylvania deliberately coughed on several areas of a grocery store and workers had to then both remove her and replace everything at a loss of $35K. And this is just one instance of disrespect. 

We take these workers for granted on a daily basis. 

Photo by Norbert Kundrak on Unsplash

The same goes for people who work with shipping like UPS or Amazon, considering the ordering we’re all probably doing while stuck indoors. They’re still out and about, supplying us with whatever we consider essentials, touching all the things we don’t have to simply to get us what we asked for.

They probably haven’t received as many thank yous as they should have by now.

Because these days, there’s been a redefinition of what it means to “need” something. Or someone. If we can stay away from each other, find other ways to connect, and actually shelter in place then we might have more control than we think. At least, that’s if we do what we’re supposed to.

Unfortunately, people like those spring breakers in Florida might have a larger impact than they thought. Take a look at this map, at a visual aspect of the impact every person moving around out there can have. As you look at this, consider the amount of work that goes into taking care of the rest of us, the work that more of those who are also essential end up doing,

Yes, I do mean the healthcare workers.

For some, maybe the pandemic hasn’t made a major difference to them simply because of where they live, who they live around, etc. But take a look at how it impacts those who are in the center of it all. I’m not talking about the virus, the issue with that. No, I’m talking about how we as humans handle things like this.

We can only ever be so strong or handle so much until we protect ourselves and prepare for the worst.

Photo by Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash

There is a certain amount of fear that comes with each wave, with each rising number. As much as a nurse, doctor, surgeon, PA, etc. wants to help one person to the next, a lot of them are at risk more than the rest of us due to the amount of contact they have with people.

Each of us are making changes in our lives, some as precautionary and others, as necessary. Take this for instance; healthcare workers in the middle of all this are doing more than helping others, but also helping themselves and their loved ones by updating wills and changing their own life directives. In all honesty, I do not know the magnitude and I can’t tell you what the aftermath of all of this will look like. But when we hit a point that people are preparing for this kind of impact on their lives all to help the rest of us, that says a lot.

Then again, some of us aren’t willing to stay indoors, to not hang out and touch things and spend more time in public than we need to. If that’s the case, we really can’t win.

Not unless we all decide to.

When I say that things are changing, I mean it in a broader way than usual—it’s not about a lost spring quarter or the thousands of students no longer able to fulfill degree requirements/clinical hours/labs etc. 

It’s about what we’re willing to do in our own lives that might change those around us for the better. All those celebrity photos saying “I stay home for my parents, grandparents, children, friends,” you get what they’re trying to say. They’re not doing it for themselves.

We shouldn’t be either.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

Because for some people, this really is life and death. Not just the literal lives that this has taken and continues to do so, but also the trust we have in each other and the belief that we can be better. That this can change. At this point, the humanity everything we do relies on is hanging in the balance here—the work we put in to be better than we were yesterday or the reason one company might take their work or their money and put it into something that needs it more than they do, it’s all at risk.

Right now, the way we see one another, the way we work with or care about or work for one another, that’s on the line. And every one of us has a part to play in where we go from here. So in everything you’re doing this weekend and beyond, I hope you keep this in consideration. I’ve said it before, everything affects everything.

Take some time today to believe in that. And take care of yourselves.

See you next week.

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