New Days, New Ways
The pandemic has taken its toll on humanity in every possible way. Death, stress, uncertainty, health, employment, family, finances, travel, and everything in between. We miss seeing our friends, family, and work mates. We long for travel, experiencing a change of scenery, and wondering if living life to the fullest is a thing of the past? However, I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason and that opportunity can come out of struggle and tragedy.
Back in April, my husband and I went to a tulip festival to enjoy the first blush of spring. A beautiful sunny day, exploring new roads, and excited to see the fields of color in bloom. As we were waiting for our tour with several other folks, my husband struck up a conversation with a group of people. They were from out of state, so he was informing them of the area and making some suggestions on sites to see. They mentioned they were going whale watching on their visit, so he began to show them pictures of a whale he had spotted off a small island in Washington. Mind you, my husband was fully masked and so were the out of towners.
As he shared his whale photos, he and the group were laughing, talking, and exchanging stories; they were totally enjoying the moment. I noticed that none of them were six feet apart and it did not seem like anyone even took notice. I wondered if the group didn’t feel comfortable proclaiming a six-foot distance to a stranger, or if they did not have a concern, or if they were experiencing a moment that felt back to normal and they didn’t want to have it disrupted by rules?
As the tour began, the group dispersed, and we all shifted our focus to tulips. I said to my husband, although you had a mask on, perhaps you should have stood six feet away. He said, oh jeez I didn’t even think of that, but we were masked and outside. Fair enough I said, but this is an interesting phenomenon, to stay safe, we wear masks and stay six feet apart, but what happens when we shed the masks, what is the new etiquette?
Respecting personal space has always been something we should all be cognizant of, but let’s face it, there are people out there who have no sense of personal space. Remember the close talker on Seinfeld? So how do we handle the individuals out there who breach personal space protocol? Will those of us who spoke up pre pandemic continue to do so? Will those of us who dealt with unwanted close encounters continue to say nothing or change our ways? Instead of worrying about how we will handle these inevitable situations, how about providing each other some help?
Although Covid has forced us to give each other personal space, I am urging myself and everyone out there to continue to be aware of your surroundings and be respectful to your fellow humans when it comes to personal space. If anything, use the pandemic as an eye opener to walk in others’ shoes. We can’t assume knowing about each other’s stories, but we all have one. Maybe some aren’t vaccinated, or maybe the vaccine didn’t work on them because they are immune-compromised. We need to change the narrative from, I’m not worried, I won’t catch it, or I’m healthy, to, I need to care for myself and others who might be at risk or just because they are people we share the planet with; pause and think about our fellow humans.
Let’s raise awareness and kindness at the same time. If we are aware of our actions and mindful of others, this informed state of mind can help cure assumptions, alleviate jumping to conclusions, and aid in preventing the negative interactions that unfortunately have become part of our society. We all share this world, so why not share kindness.
Disclaimer: the advice in this blog is meant to provide guidance and be thought provoking. It is the writer’s opinion only.