I don’t often borrow worry. Growing up I was raised that tomorrow is never promised, so you train your focus on the day ahead. That’s not to say that you don’t plan, but you should always prepare to hear God laughing if you do. Because of that trait, I find that I’m quite a bit more malleable than many people in my orbit. Many of my friends balk when I don’t get worked up and stressed out over things that are worrying them. Some actually quit speaking to me altogether in stressful times, as they tire quickly of hearing me reply, “Well, it’s not like there’s anything that can be done about it.”
It’s a mistake, however, to dismiss anyone who shares Doris Day’s and my “Que sera, sera” attitude as being unable to comprehend the severity of a situation. Knowing that earthquakes are destructive has nothing to do with the ability to affect change on shifting tectonic plates. Aside from researching where they are least prevalent and choosing to abide in that spot, there’s little more that can be done if Richter scale readings are the source of your angst. Equally, I can understand peoples’ fears of contracting the novel virus, but aside from following the protocols to the letter (which I do) not all of the possibilities of contracting it are left within my control.
I surmise that it’s that lack of control that has much of the populace skittish at the moment. That’s where the analytical realist in me feels lost and detached from much of the world, including some closest to me. If the world shifts on its axis, we’re all toast, but I don’t spend my days worrying if it will. I have other hamster wheels that occupy my neurons regularly, so adding to them doesn’t do me or anyone else any good. It’s all very black and white to me in the sense that it’s broken down in my mind in two distinct camps: can I do anything to change it or is someone or something else at the helm?
With things that fall under the former, I do whatever I can do. Things in the latter category though are largely ignored by me. Maybe it’s conditioned into me after years of tracking political movements and human behavior, but my bar of expectation is un-limboable when it comes to my trust in groups of others making any decisions I’d agree with. If you look at any large group, it’s unlikely you’ll get a consensus on even the weather. One person’s “balmy” is another person’s sweat fest. Heck, a mere ten dentists can’t agree on the best toothpaste to use, so how can one hope to reach a global accord on anything?
What I do know is, we are wet-wired as a species for adaptation. Our brains take in information regularly and use it to assess a situation, evaluate potential actions, and send signals to our bodies to act. For some, it’s second nature and happens without serious effort. For others it requires contemplation, a pros and cons list, hesitation, re-evaluation, and then action. Regardless of the time it takes though, we’re all capable of doing it unless we consciously force ourselves not to.
Standing resolute and immutable has merit in certain situations. If there is a moral law or principle you’re trying to uphold, I can understand the inclination. Contrarianism for its own sake, however, serves little purpose, especially in a pandemic. Far be it from me to prevent anyone from living their life how they choose, but in the same vein…don’t come crying to me when it doesn’t work out for you. I’m very justice based and my sympathies rarely incline toward people who expect the same results doers get when they do nothing. This is especially prevalent in my sentiments in regard to re-opening workplaces and stores.
The day before yesterday Governor DeWine laid out the plans for my home state’s re-opening. One of the mandates included was that people working at or entering a business were required to wear masks or some homemade PPE apparatus. The next morning I was online purchasing some washable and reusable coverings. In my head, logic dictated I do so. While I was perusing Amazon though, apparently a large contingent within my state were inundating the governor’s office with emails about their displeasure. Cries of slippery slopes, totalitarianism, and fascism filled the wi-fi waves. Equally loud were the angry retorts from people who felt like it was too soon to even contemplate re-opening. Most of which, I can almost guarantee, are not at the point of feeling the financial pinch.
Neither of these groups seemed inclined to stop and realize what their lack of adaptation would mean for anyone outside of themselves. Again, not shocking considering what we know about human behavior, but disappointing nonetheless. With PPE’s it’s in the name for crying out loud. It’s designed to protect you as a person. And as for not re-opening until there’s a vaccine…that’s not remotely feasible for a huge segment of the population. So, if you don’t want to be required to wear a mask, don’t go in public. If you can afford to live off savings and not work and are fearful of returning, stay home. But if you lie anywhere on the spectrum in between those two extremes…adapt. Do what is within your control to protect yourself, and have faith that the things out of your control will present a scenario that you can adapt to.
As always, wishing you health, less worry, and the ability to adapt. It’s in you.