Like many of you during this time of social distancing, I am checking social media accounts on a regular basis to stay connected, to see something funny, or to be inspired by something uplifting…early last week I read a simple message on Facebook that made me stop and think. “We are not all in the same boat.”
It sure seems that we are, because we are all facing the fears of a deadly virus. Here in the US, the vast majority of us are practicing social distancing: not being able to spend time with our family and friends, most not able to go to work, none able to go to restaurants, none being able to properly mourn deceased loved ones, none able to normally celebrate important milestones. Sure seems like the same boat – but it’s not.
Some of us are still able to collect a paycheck; others are struggling to make ends meet or worrying about how to keep a business afloat.
Some are happy to be isolated with a loved one, others are alone and lonely. Some are facing day after day (even month after month) keeping young children entertained, some may be home in an unhappy or abusive relationship.
Some are isolated on a ‘huge boat’, others are confined to a ‘rowboat’ – think of those in small apartments in NYC…
Some of us are young and healthy, others have serious health issues, significant risk factors and/or loved ones that do.
In the grand scheme of things, what does this mean? Here’s one perspective: Unlike taking a walk through a marina or watching a parade of ships out at sea, you can’t see someone’s ‘boat’ when you pass them on the street, or in the checkout line at the grocery store. Yesterday, when asked by a cashier how she was doing, an elderly woman wearing a mask said, “Not so well, I have trouble breathing with this thing on,” to which he (also wearing a mask) replied, “Well, we’re all in the same boat.” NO. We are not. Let’s pay attention to the struggles of others and do what we can to help. Maybe all this lady needed was a different kind of mask.
In the months ahead society will slowly reopen and there will be varying opinions of what is right and wrong. We are all entitled to our opinions. What will possibly be as challenging as the soft reopening is how we will maintain relationships with those who may not see eye to eye with us. To me the answer is twofold: 1- Show respect to others, and 2- When in doubt, keep quiet.
For people with strong opinions (who me?), #2 will not be easy, but I vow to do my very best, by reminding myself of this message, “we are not all in the same boat”. While this message is clearly true, we are all hoping for the same outcome: for the storm to pass, and for life to resume back to normal, sooner rather than later. This normal life will not happen overnight and certainly not without societal adjustments, but any movement toward normalcy is a darn good thing.
No storm lasts forever. We will get through this. Better days are ahead.