We can mitigate risk without being swept away by floods or overwhelmed by wildfires.
We MUST stand aside from oncoming traffic, whether that traffic is a disease, warfare, or dis-information warfare. We must fight and defend when we have to, run when we have to, speak up, and speak out when we have to and be adaptable.
Weapons of mass destruction (WMD), a term we learned in recent years. Takes on new meaning now – not about the military/industrial complex, not about missiles, bullets, or bombs; it’s the new-normal fear.
Better said, our new-normal.
Get used to – not fear so much, but to adapt and cope with new-norm-ness.
A few years ago, I learned this phrase:
“Living with my virus.” It isn’t only people in the HIV/Aids world – it’s everyone with a virus, a compromised immune system – Hepatitis, Herpes, Hantavirus, Shingles, etc. We don’t even wince at having the chicken-pox or measles virus in us.
Through immunization and wise practices, we’ve become immune to thinking much about smallpox, polio, rabies, etc. because we believe we won’t have to worry about them. Once MERS, Ebola, Rotavirus, and SARS are no longer on the front page, they fade from consciousness.
What about Dengue, Malaria?
What about common influenza?
People get the shot, trust the health care system, and carry on.
People who have these diseases learn to live with them. Most get through, live on, take a pill, moderate their behavior – adjust to ‘living with their virus,’ and they ‘live with their disease.
Now we are faced with lifestyle choices to make to avoid contact with the COVID-19 virus. Can we prevent it, delay it, or simply cope with it when it shows up – do we get sick, die, or get lucky?
Living in fear for any extended time seems crazy; we need to get through it, get over it, and get beyond it. That’s in our head. But threats are no less real if we get used to them.
But who is our captor – COVID-19, Trump, the news-cycle, the ever-flattening curve, or our own brain?
We tolerate the risk of many perils all the time. We risk a fire in our homes and businesses – the safer our building materials and lifestyle, the lower the risk. The closer to the fire hall, the lower our cost of insurance.
Crime is risk mitigated by prudence, good lighting, good laws, and good law enforcement – none of which stop crime, criminals, or the likelihood we’ll be hurt, robbed, killed, or have property stolen.
What criminals or mad-professors cannot do, in real life or fiction, is take our dignity, our self-control, or our safety away, unless we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. We cannot stop disease, accident, villain, or nature – however, we can be calm, thoughtful, careful, and proactive.
We can feel the anxiety without suffering paralysis.
COVID-19 is not reinventing earth; instead, forcing our species to reinvent ourselves – our learning curve is steep in every country, in every language, learning to live with our virus, and we carry on anyway.