It’s been a few weeks into our quarantine and we’ve just been told there are many more weeks left in isolation and many of us are freaking out. Some of us want to get back to normal. Some of us hate being told what to do. And some of us aren’t quarantining at all. Many of us do understand why we have to self-isolate and are doing so, but like those that aren’t, we aren’t coping with it as well as we should, perhaps because this is the first real big pandemic that we have faced and we’ve all been coddled all of our lives, living in bubbles thinking that nothing bad will ever happen to us.
We’ve been through recessions, 9/11, and other national issues, but those things never came close to what we are experiencing now and as such, we don’t know what to do. The truth is that we’ve never been prepared as the proliferation of anti-vaxxers have taught us that you don’t have to listen to science and the government if you don’t want to. We don’t have a social safety net to take care of millions of out-of-work citizens because we think everyone should be able to fend for themselves. And we think we don’t have to care about the outside world because we need to take care of ourselves first. It is precisely these ideas that have shaped how we have dealt with this pandemic and it has been disastrous. We don’t have to blame Trump or the government because we’re the ones who think this way and we’re the ones that let this happen.
There are no easy answers and no magic solutions that will happen overnight and that scares a lot of people that are used to instantaneous results. We’re a nation that runs on fast food and faster coffee, so when we’re told that they don’t know when life is going to return to normal again, we cannot comprehend that. There is a lot of uncertainty right now and so people are trying to regain some measure of strength by protesting, acting racist, and breaking rules; for in doing so, they feel they are taking control of something that they can’t control. This in turn creates more chaos and fuels narratives that people fashion into their own liking. We have to accept that there is nothing we can do about the virus right now, but there is a lot we can do about how we treat one another.
So how do you cope with everything that is going on? You take it one day at a time. Stand up for others. Help where you can. Keep your hands busy. And above all else, understand that how we view ourselves and others must change. What we’ve been doing barely worked before and the virus has laid bare the inadequacies of our rules, policies, and ways of thinking. Sometimes, change comes quietly and at others, it comes in on the back of a tidal wave.