What do I do over quarantine? I stay connected through a lot of media, whether it be online, on TV, or others. I watch the governor and presidential updates every day. I visit the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Global Cases website. I watch different news outlets and try to understand the commotion: the frighteningly growing number of cases, people pointing fingers and placing blame, and so many individuals worldwide struggling to get what they need from essential supplies to social interaction.
I am just trying to keep up with what is going on in our world right now. It is a lot to handle, maybe too much.
There is a lot to be said about what we’re going through. Where are we in that ‘timeline?’ Do we have a choice in expediting it? Depending on the longevity of quarantine, will the natural instinct of socialization dominant and take over?
Despite these concerns, I also see people doing something that they don’t normally do when they are burdened, anxious, or afraid: they are exercising patience, optimism, and creativity, taking action when they can.
Before there was isolation due to the coronavirus, people’s resilience was also personally tested, but their reactions were not as urgent. Unfortunately, we often let our environment get the best of us and control how we feel, bringing us down.
So, what’s different?
Well, the most obvious is that we’re all going through this (whatever “this” is) together. We’re all experiencing the chaos, the limitations, and the fear as one.
Now, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out there that feel alone or aren’t still terrified of what the future holds for them. That’s the nature of a pandemic. It does mean, though, that we are learning so much about society, people, and ourselves; we must not only pay attention to, but utilize perspective.
If you haven’t seen the movie Dead Poets’ Society, sit down with your family and watch it (fair warning: it’s entertaining, funny, but very thought-provoking). There’s a scene where Robin Williams stands on a desk and teaches his students about different ways of looking at the world and the importance of finding your voice. He even quotes Henry David Thoreau, who notably theorized that “most men lead lives of quiet desperation.”
People sometimes spend life just trying to get through the day: struggling or over-analyzing about every detail of their existence. We stress out and it overtakes us, or shuts us down.
But now, in the face of adversity and this world pandemic, people are stepping forward. Leaders are taking the helm and organizing. Healthcare workers and first responders are stepping to the forefront, putting their lives on the line for the good of humanity. People are taking selfless action, in a very scary time, without concern for their own consequences.
This is why perspective is so important in everyday life. We can choose to look at problems through a lens of terror and hardship, or we can decide to problem solve, troubleshoot, join together and affect the outcome.
Looking for another good example of perspective? Check out John Krasinski’s YouTube Channel, Some Good News. That guy ‘Jim’ from The Office puts a spin on the negative media we see on news channels, and opens it up for some really heartwarming and inspiring stories.
Personally, I’m not sure what quarantine is supposed to be like. I have no idea how I can step up and make an impact on such a grand scale, but I do know that as I continue to learn about the world, its inhabitants and humanity in general, cultivates my hope.
Knowing I have a tremendous school community to go back to when this is all over creates that feeling of hope, but there’s no better time than the present to gain a little perspective, take that first step, and just do. Change in the world is always possible, but it starts with the way we look at what is right in front of us.
And we will always have each other to help: #TogetherWeAreWest.
Have some feedback or want to ask a question? Feel free to reach out. I hope we can address your question, issue or sheer wonder in the next column.
Mike Neberz [email protected]
Carolyn Fritts [email protected]
William hohe_2212197 [email protected]
Michelle bishka_2210670 [email protected]