To be perfectly honest, I never make any kind of political posts or engage in any kind of debate on such topics on social media. Part of this is due to my (admittedly cowardly) fear of alienating people, but truthfully it’s really because I prefer to have such discussions face to face and looking people in the eye rather than from behind the coldness of a screen (to those of you who can and prefer to engage in such discussions over social media, more power to you, but it’s not for me). However, the other day I somewhat broke my rule when I made a very short post regarding my feelings towards events that are currently happening in the country, specifically the reopening of several states. Though it was a very short post, I was filled with anxiety that someone would take offense and I’d be catapulted into a tense discussion that, quite frankly, I’m not willing to have digitally. So I shoved this to the back of my mind and started thinking about what to write about next, but found myself faced with a bit of a block on what to write next. After talking with my mom, she suggested that I write about the reopening, and I found myself back where I started. After I thought about it, I decided to go along with her idea and write about this topic, since my feelings are very complicated on this subject and I think they need to be heard.
As I’ve been staying at home, I haven’t really taken the time to think about how long it’s been since I’ve done certain things: how long since I’ve eaten at certain restaurants, since I’ve been to the bar, since I’ve seen a movie in the theatres, etc. While I do miss these things, I’ve been able to get over their absence by telling myself that it’s better to be safe than sorry and that everything I’ve missed will be appreciated so much more when all this is over. But with reopening on the horizon, I’m a bit torn. On the one hand, I’m excited to be able to experience some of my favorite things again. But on the other hand, I’m concerned that every time I go out somewhere, I’ll be constantly afraid of getting sick. I’m honestly worried that I’ll be living in a state of perpetual fear, and that’s not how I want to live my life. Part of this is due to the uncertainty of the whole situation: how are businesses going to handle social distancing? Will there be a limit to the amount of people in a building at a particular time? How different will things be from how they were before? The list of uncertainties is endless and quite scary. Another huge part of my anxiety comes from how utterly powerless I (and anyone for that matter) am to control the situation. Though I’m not the most aggressive of people, I do take a lot of comfort in being able to organize and manage most if not all parts of my life. This situation is scary to me because it relies so much on the decisions and actions of other people, which is something I have absolutely no control over. I can’t make every person wear a mask every time they’re out in public. I can’t monitor every person’s movement like I’m Big Brother. I can’t make sure every single person is doing everything they can to stop the spread of the virus, and that’s what scares and disheartens me. However, while I can’t control everyone else’s actions during this time, I can control my own. I can make sure that I wear a mask and gloves whenever I go out. I can make sure to keep my distance whenever I’m around other people. And most importantly, I can do my best to ensure that my actions don’t hurt anyone else, and I have to accept that sometimes that’s all one can do. So during this time of uncertainty during the reopening, I promise to be as careful as humanly possible whenever I’m out in public, and from the bottom of my heart, I ask that everyone else try to do the same.
Thanks for reading, and stay safe.