Sunday, March 15, 2020

A Shift in Perspective

My life took a bit of a turn this week when it finally got through to me that I am in a high risk category in regards to the Covid-19 virus. Up until then my concerns were more general. I cared about my family, my students and coworkers, our school families, my friends and community members. I looked outward, not inward.

Now I must face the fact that I have a responsibility to protect myself and put myself first by self-isolating, and I hate it. Like most of us, I have spent my adult life wiggling around the rules of self-care. We have taken many unnecessary risks, worked when we should have rested, taken on extra commitments, rushed from one thing to the next. We put others first while continually depleting our own reserves.

Our culture in the U.S. rewards this. We’re all about the “doing” with precious little time for the “being” of our human existence. And now we are faced with the task of what may feel like “doing nothing.”  We chafe at taking on the stigma of being unproductive, helpless.

I am fortunate in that I am both professionally and financially able to self-isolate. You would think that I’d just be grateful for that and settle in for the duration, but no. I struggle with the knowledge that I have to think of myself as vulnerable. I can’t bend the rules. I can’t pretend to be invincible.

I’m also tasked with convincing everyone in my immediate family that everything they do could affect me. This is not fun. For those of us whose general mode of operation is, “Don’t mind me, I’ll be fine,” having to make it all about oneself is excruciating. We’d rather not be in the position of defending our existence.

Whether we are young and healthy or in a high risk group we are all faced with the challenge of taking public health restrictions seriously. From what I can see on social media, many folks are having a hard time with the personal responsibility factor. For whatever reason, they haven’t accepted that the rules apply to them. Why would they? They’ve always managed wiggling around them before.

We’ve all done that in the past. And suddenly our world is coming to a dead stop and we can’t make any more excuses. It’s a struggle and it is only just beginning.

Many thanks to all of you who are self isolating to protect the vulnerable. I absolutely, positively hate that I am one of them.

Today I am going to start working on the things that I *can* do to help out while remaining safe. More on that tomorrow.

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