I’ve been trying to find the words to say that will have any real impact on this situation we’re currently dealing with. As I type this, the statistics show over 312,000 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus COVID-19 in the United States. When I wrote my post two weeks ago, there were 25,000. Even scarier for me … it’s so close to home. Pennsylvania has over 10,000 confirmed cases, but in the very small county where my parents reside, there has already been one death. This terrifies me because my parents have all the primary traits of those who die from this virus including age and severe underlying health problems.
It’s ironic, really. I believed that the coronavirus was not as big of a deal as many made it out to be. I recall being at the airport in February, returning from vacation, when I heard that they were banning flights into China. I thought, ‘well, that sucks.’ But, I wasn’t worried. I also wasn’t worried when it spread to the United States nor when it spread to Pennsylvania. In fact, when our governor implemented the first stay-at-home order, I thought it was completely unnecessary.
Well, I was wrong.
What I’ve witnessed in the past few weeks is unprecedented. This virus has affected people I idolize – people I thought were invincible – it’s overhauled what we once knew as ‘normal,’ and it’s showed us that our country is at war with something we could have never fully prepared for - something unseen by the eye. This is probably the scariest realization, of all.
What we once thought was secure, is threatened. Compromised. In my lifetime, I’ve only personally felt this loss of security when 9/11 happened. I’m 38 years old. Many have seen worse and lived through incredibly trying times. What we are dealing with right now is still – for the majority of us – just an inconvenience. Yes, it’s very real and it’s scary as hell. People are dying. But, again, for most of us… we are OK. We will be alright.
If empty paper aisles, overgrown hair and physical social isolation are the primary concerns, we really do emulate that hashtag #firstworldproblems.
While I’m still unsure of what to say that will have any significant meaning on how we deal with this crisis, I’ve found that sharing my story – my vulnerability and fears – can be helpful to others who might be feeling the same. This morning, my husband said, “I think that we should all take a deep breath, look around and be grateful for what we have.” As a stop-and-smell the roses kind of guy, his advice is sound in any situation. Today, however, I think it’s the most timely piece of advice I’ve heard yet.
How are you navigating the new normal?