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"Notes" #23

A profound thank-you to a reader of "Notes" and author of the piece on COVID below. You now have me thinking about how I see this experience with COVID-19.

                    Helpless-Hopeless-Hapless (H-H-H)

I have used this alliterative trio of words many times to describe a situation or feelings. I think this pandemic has left us all feeling a little bit H-H-H. I know personally about these feelings, and I get it reinforced daily by my clients who are really feeling the effects of the stress and anxiety this situation is placing on their lives. So, just how do we lift ourselves out of these feelings of hopelessness?

One thing for sure not to do is to deny these H-H-H feelings. Don't reach for the platitudes or push away your feelings by telling yourself everything will be okay- we don't know that! Owning the negative feelings can sometimes bring about changes in those feelings. However, "sitting in the mud without a plan" for too long can become the "norm", and that is not acceptable either.

So what can you do during these extraordinary times to break the cycle of
H-H-H? I offer nothing that you haven't already thought about, or somebody has suggested, or you read that this is what you should be doing during this pandemic, except to encourage you to do what you already know you could be doing. Ah heck, I'll throw a few of my ideas at you anyway.

Exercise is a must - you decide the level and intensity but it must be consistent; telephone/zoom family and friends if only to keep their spirits up and yours will follow; paint the garage or a canvas; watch shows that make you laugh and save all the bad jokes people pass on to you and share them; think about what you would like to do after the pandemic passes, and start doing what's possible now; love your partner and your kids (if they're still alive after home schooling) and know you can start making things better, right now, before this mess even ends.

Here is another perspective:

I am seeing so much anxiety about resuming business, and so much anger about continued regulations. People are feeling the need to catapult to one side or the other, and then fight the opposition.

Here's my perspective, from a mainstream medical model. I think a lot of folks have fallen into the idea that social distancing was meant to stop the viral spread. It wasn't - it was meant to SLOW it while we put medical infrastructure in place. It has worked. We have, in most parts, not been overwhelmed like we likely would have been without protective measures. In the meantime, our testing procedures have gotten better. We've increased our ventilator count. We've gotten a little better handle on PPE supply chains, and many have helped by making masks and gowns. It's not perfect, but it's much better than it was seven weeks ago.

A vaccine is a long way off and not everyone will choose to get it. That is their choice. At some point, people have to be systematically exposed to begin the building of (hopeful) herd immunity. We will likely begin to experience a real increase in cases after reopening. Ideally, that exposure is controlled and calculated, in phases, to allow our medical community to respond adequately, and reduce the number of severe or fatal cases. That's where we are.

Whether you feel like opening is too soon, or not soon enough, we were never going to social distance this thing into non-existence. You now need to proceed as your health, wallet, and conscience allow.

If you are medically vulnerable, you do not need to be a part of what is about to happen. Stay home if you can. If you're not, or if your financial vulnerability trumps your health concerns, you need to proceed in ways that continue to protect yourself, and the elderly and medically vulnerable around you.

All of us need to calm down. Quit telling people who are financially struggling that they don't care about human lives. Quit telling people who are truly at risk of dying from this virus that they are cowering in fear. Remember that until you've walked in someone else's shoes, you should probably be careful in your judgements and subsequent harsh words.

We don't HAVE to choose an either/or proposition and fight. We could choose other ways to be. Examples include but are not limited to:
"I think this may be too soon, so I will continue to shelter myself, and pray/make masks/ check on those who can't."

"I really need to go back to work, so I will do so, but I will be careful and try to protect myself, my family, and those around me with healthy strategies."

See how those positions allow each of us to do what we need to, and also respect those who are choosing differently?

One thing that allows us to do this is humility. I can acknowledge that I am not an epidemiologist/economist/whatever, that I am making decisions based on my understanding of complex subjects and my own personal health and financial situation, that I am not all knowing, always right, and an expert in all fields, and that each person around me is doing their best too. We can make different choices and still be a supportive community. We can learn and evolve in our understanding of these issues.

Give one another the benefit of the doubt and the compassion of compromise.

Much love and prayers for everyone in making their own personal decision about this issue.
                                         Author unknown (If it's you let me know)

Interesting perspective!

In "Notes" #21, I wrote a piece titled, "You Owe Me". Here is Edward's response:
 I am a retired Manitoba lawyer.  There was, when I retired in 2016, on the books a Parents' Maintenance Act.  It provided for the princely sum of $75 per month to be payable by children for their elderly parents.  The amount of the payment demonstrates how old this statute is.
        I just looked up online to see whether the statute is still there, and see that it is.  I am attaching a link.  Note that the amount has been increased to $20 per week (woo-ee - that should pay for an extravagant night at the bingo hall!).