It hasn’t been a fun start to 2020. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the world has been shrouded in worry, fear and anxiety. Vulnerable bodies have succumbed to the new virus. Doctors are still scrambling to figure out the right treatment and scientists, a vaccine. Movement has almost ground to a halt on every continent. This is a scene I never thought I’d ever witness, but here it is – the universe and all her surprises.
While this certainly isn’t the best of times, everyday situations forces us to choose one way or another:
Do we wallow in helplessness, or do we do the best we can to protect the people we love and our community by keeping good hygiene habits, stopping travel for the time being and practicing safe distancing? (Note: In Singapore, community transmission isn’t as widespread as virus importation, i.e. found in travellers or residents arriving from overseas.)
Can we restrain ourselves from overbuying at the supermarkets and pharmacies during this time and save essential products for others who may need them more than we do? (On the flip side, can we empathise with zealous shoppers rather than laying harsh judgement? I was much guilty of this early on in the outbreak.)
Do we bury our heads in smart devices and fill our heads with apocalyptic news headlines? Or can we really savour the extra time we are getting with loved ones now that many are working from home?
Do we think about “me”? Or can we extend generosity (think extra hand sanitisers, soaps, masks) to the most vulnerable in our community? Can we continue to support small local businesses that are struggling with cash flow in this climate?
Do we choose to focus on the negative narrative and never-ending flaws of every government and healthcare system (even if yes, they are present)? Or can we be the light for the worriers? Can we flip our gaze to the blue skies, tune our ears to the singing of the birds and breathe more deeply in an urban city that’s now less congested?
The bottom line is, even in grimness, we have the power to rise above negativity. There are many things we can’t control in a growing pandemic. But there are also things that we can.
How will you hence exercise your free will? This is really the question, isn’t it?