Turn around

Today is a weird day. As I’ve been laid off like a million (literally) other Canadians, I am free to drive my wife into work at her office for what will be her last day. She’s set to move onto a new job and career that she has dreamed of for most of her life. Just as she makes this amazing decision, the pandemic and global economic collapse happens, and now everything is uncertain.

She obviously feels horrible for having made this decision of giving up a secure job, but it’s not her fault that the world has changed course so dramatically. We don’t know where the future will take us, and frankly nobody else in the world does either. All we can do is have faith in our leaders to work together and help us all, while also knowing that those leaders are just people as well. From your friend who is putting on a brave face, to the small business owner or the local healthcare worker, and all the way up to the world leaders, they’re all just people.

They are people with their own problems, fears, and failings, and it’s important to do our part to make their lives and the lives of those around us better and easier.

Today, I was planning to wait around for my wife to finish her last day at her current job. I had a couple errands to do that I really needed to make, and I completed them as quickly as possible while interacting with almost nobody. When I finished them, I found myself thinking about something fun that I could do to cheer my wife up in this time of fear and uncertainty.

To us, that usually involves going to a grocery store and picking up a cool snack that we’ve never had before. I realized I was close to whole foods, which is a grocery store we love but normally is too far away to visit. Before I drove there, I thought about whether or not I should go when I don’t really need to be there. I went anyway, found a parking spot, and proceeded to sit in my car for 10 minutes thinking about the risks involved in going inside. I didn’t need to be there, I didn’t need to risk getting infected or possibly infecting others if I somehow already had it and didn’t know.

I decided I really just wanted to pick up something to cheer my wife up and make her happy, and there was nothing wrong with that. I told myself that this was important, and so I walked to the entrance where I saw a line of people waiting to get in.

I looked at all of them, a mix of all ages, and I realized that most of them probably really needed groceries and I don’t. I don’t need to be in the store, taking up space while I browse for new candy and kombucha. I don’t need to be a risk to somebody else. I don’t need to force someone else to stand outside in the rain because I’m one of the 50 customers allowed inside.

I turned around and walked back to the car right away, felling incredibly depressed. It’s the closest I have come to crying during this time. All I want to do is make my wife a little bit happier. I feel helpless and sad, but I know it’s for the better.

The more we stay away from places we don’t need to be, the faster we can get back to some sort of normal life again and all do what we love.

Listen to those leaders that are just trying to do their best, and remember that you become part of the solution by the actions that you decide to take. It may not feel good. In fact, it might make you downright depressed like it did to me this morning, but we’ll all be better for it in the end.

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