In The Time of COVID

“May you live in interesting times.”

I think that says it all. We live in interesting times. Not to be confused with the unstable political climate, mind you. THAT will come to a head this November, but the storm clouds have been gathering for years. How will things turn out? My crystal ball shattered the day I grew up.

But there’s one thing I do know–we cannot live in fear. Fear of the unknown, of an invisible threat that could be anywhere.

And it goes beyond that. Fear of misinformation. Fear of fear-mongering men and women whose agendas are to propagate more of it to maintain their power. Fear of what the future holds. Fear for my family. My livelihood.

Fear of everything.

Sound like dystopian fiction? I could suggest a few titles in case you’ve forgotten.

I apologize to any of my readership if this unblogged post is political. Although I don’t write here as often as I should, I have no desire to use this forum to push my beliefs beyond what I think is good writing, or how I’m feeling about writing.

However, I’ve been struggling with my emotions since our shelter-in-place order started. I subscribe to the belief that we are all mourning the loss of the BEFORE. When we blithely lived our lives unaware, deliberately or not, that danger lurked around the corner, in the air, on the television, behind the internet avatar, down the street.

Tell me if this sounds familiar–you got up in the morning, prepped for your day (work, school, homemaking, writing, whatever), went about your day, interacted with friends/coworkers/associates/clients/students/anyone, eventually came home, did whatever you did at home, went to sleep, wash-rinse-repeat.

I watched world shaking events, but I was more concerned with my own sphere. I paid bills. I paid taxes. I bought stuff. I wrote stuff. I did stuff. Because none of that would ever happen to me.

Ever.

Call me ignorant. Call me uncaring. Call me self-absorbed. Call me insular. Call me whatever. Just don’t call me maybe, because I’m not going to disagree.

I’ve lost a parent, I’ve experienced heartache, physical pain, excruciating anxiety and apprehension when loved ones suffer medical emergencies. I’ve put beloved pets down, seen a corpse shortly after an old friend’s passing, cried when innocence was taken at the site of an age-old marathon, stood stunned as I watched on television the horrifying reality of seemingly unbreakable twin towers of steel, glass and stone destroyed by unfettered evil and hatred.

I’ve seen things. Not as much as some, but their impact will never be lost.

Fear is real. Fear is omnipresent. Fear is the fire that offers no warmth, shuns the light and challenges the resolve of even the hardest of women and men.

And I’m fucking tired of it.

I’m tired of being afraid. I’m tired of living with anxiety. I’m over feeling uncreative. I’m sick of marveling at the stupidity of people who subscribe to the “It’ll never happen to me” philosophy. Ironic, I know. I counted myself among them before COVID. But I guess you can teach an old dog sometimes.

It’s time to stand up. It’s time to take charge. Retake control. Reclaim whatever normalcy I can, instead of wasting away and allowing circumstances to control me.

Because there are so many brave and caring people on the front lines–medical professionals, restaurant workers, retailers, supermarket employees, first responders, the list goes on and on and on.

These ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances. And they still follow the same ritual I used to do before COVID. They get up every day, face the music with a smile, a scowl, a nod. Their determination is inspiring. Their willingness to face peril, regardless of their particular and unique situations.

I must honor them. I must honor the ones that came before.

And I will do my part.

I wear a mask in public. I exercise appropriate social distancing. I support local businesses. I respect others, and merely ask they respect me in return.

And I hope for the day when the time of COVID has become shadows and dust, and whatever our new normal will be is something whose ongoing focus is to not repeat the ignorance of the past.

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