We’re All In This Together

In our lifetimes, most of us have never seen the social and political unrest that is present in our country today. The pandemic has created a whole new world in which we all must learn to navigate, and go forward in.

This is not an easy task, because humans like predictability, we like routine, and we like to have some measure of control over our lives, as well as the conditions we choose to live in. We like to think that we can make sense out of the events in our lives, all the way from our private lives, our families, our communities, our states, our country, and, ultimately, our world. We like to think that we can understand why things happen; that there is a reasonable explanation for the events and happenings that affect our lives, and those we love.

Since March 2020, all of that seems to have changed. The belief most of us held that we if we made good choices, took care of ourselves and acted sensibly, we would be able to fend off a contagious health crisis that we have found our world gripped in. We were once entitled to that belief.

Each of us also holds our own unique idea of how our society should be governed, and we are all still entitled to that.

However, because we are an interdependent species, we cannot ignore the needs, ideas and opinions of others. Most of us have all found this out the hard way. We want to believe that our view of how our health care and government systems should be delivered to us as citizens.

As we all have learned, it’s not that easy.

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Imagine that you are going to a potluck. If you weren’t feeling well, you likely wouldn’t go. If you were going, however, you likely would prepare and bring your best dish to share.

Now imagine that life is a giant potluck. We all must bring our best dishes to the table to share; we must share our gifts with others. And, we must also do what we can to cause no harm.

Life in these COVID times is still much like a potluck, except the rules have changed. We all need to continue to strive to do whatever we can to make the world a better place, but we must also vigilantly protect others from any possible health risks whenever, and however we can. We must follow the social distancing rules, mask-wearing rules, and whatever other rules are in place where we choose to go, whether it be complying with limits to numbers of people in a certain place, vaccination requirements or early closures/limited hours of operation for certain businesses.

Of course, the vaccination for the COVID-19 virus is a gift of science that is now available to nearly everyone, and it goes without saying that for nearly everyone, getting the vaccine is the right thing to do.

Besides these new rules we all should adhere to, there have always been many other things we can do to continue to bring our best dishes to the potluck of life. Perhaps you are already doing many of these, but most of us can share more of our time and energy to bring more joy and good health to the world:

  • Donate blood. There is always a shortage, and it may save more than one life.
  • Get the flu vaccine. While the numbers have gone down last year, it is still around, and is still a risk.
  • If you aren’t already certified, consider taking a CPR class to become certified. We have all heard the stories of the person who was certified, and was there to save a life—and did. This could be you. Contact the American Red Cross, or your county health department to find nearby classes.
  • Consider becoming a volunteer. There are many agencies that offer many opportunities to share your gifts and bring that delicious dish of yours to the potluck. If it is available in your area, Meals On Wheels is an excellent way to offer not only a hot cooked meal, but a quick check-in as well. Many seniors depend on this daily drop-off to connect with another person, and it is a means of ensuring their daily safety as well.
  • If you struggle to get out the door to walk or partake in another form of exercise, consider the buddy system. Making yourself accountable to a neighbor or friend to meet at a specified time and place on a regular basis will greatly increase your chances of getting yourself out there. Both of you will become healthier.
  • Offer to spend time with someone else’s dependent children, or if they are a caregiver to another adult, they need time to themselves that they likely do not get. Caregiving and child-rearing add so much meaning to a person’s life, but they are also extremely exhausting. Giving that person a break—if you feel you are capable of providing the necessary care—can be a lifesaver for that person, and a change of pace—and a new face for the person/child/children receiving care. All of you will benefit; you will feel a new sense of understanding and appreciation.
  • Animal owners need breaks, too. Some restrict their outings or vacations due to their pet’s needs. If you are qualified, consider offering to pet-sit for a few hours—or a few days.
  • Long before the coronavirus changed our world, we all knew that social interaction was important for mental and physical health. It is even more important now, as many people have been deprived of it. Ensuring that you are following all precautions, making a visit to a person who may not have many visitors will benefit both of you in the short- and long-term.

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The potluck of life is out there, and happening now. Take your precautions, get your vaccine if you haven’t already, and prepare your best dish. Sharing it with the world now, in these unprecedented tough times, may very well save someone else’s life—and maybe yours, too.