Social Distancing: a set of nonpharmaceutical infection control actions intended to stop or slow down the spread of a contagious disease.
Living in Daegu South Korea, the "epicenter" of the outbreak and one of two special care zones here, I've become quite familiar with this phrase. We've been encouraged to limit our social exposure, avoid public transportation and many large events have been canceled, including Sunday church services, concerts and festivals across the country. We receive frequent texts from the government reminding us of best practices and encouraging us to stay strong, but not get complacent as the number of infections here begin to decline. While I've been living this reality for weeks, it is only just beginning for friends and family back in the United States and other parts of the world.
The above image has been floating around all outlets of social media recently, but for every re-post there comes a naysayer who believes their above the curve, safe from infection or "healthy and young" enough to avoid a major disruption to their personal life. This was me a few weeks ago, I suddenly had time off work, money in my bank account and friends across the country I was longing to see, but did I go? No, I stayed home, started reading more, rediscovered my love for blogging and realized it was best for everyone else to keep my young, healthy, optimistic self at home. Flattening the curve will not stop the outbreak, I realize this, but every individual doing their part in this, making an effort to wash their hands, limit social contact and not freak the fuck out, will help.
When told to do something, humans naturally want to do the opposite. Tell an entire population to stay home and suddenly everyone has somewhere to be or something to do. Many worry about becoming bored or missing out on an event or gathering, but those staying at home are the smarter, stronger ones. Besides, we have developed a world that literally caters to social distancing. We have Netflix, Uber eats, grocery delivery, Facetime, Skype, and a wealth of other technology that allows us not to interact with people. Yet suddenly, everyone wants to do the opposite, just because someone told them not to.
While there are of course problems, children with single parents who must go to work or elderly with no one to care for them, anytime spent away from crowds, traveling or group meetings will benefit the rest of society. Take this as an opportunity, say no to the lunch meeting you don't actually want to attend but usually say 'yes' to out of obligation or a feeling that you should. Self Care and minimalism have been trends for the last few years with few arguing they don't have time or can't commit to such practices. This is literally our planet telling you to do so. Take this time and spend it with yourself, discover who you really are what you care about. Social distancing doesn't have to mean siting at home bingeing Netflix, watching the news and worrying about the world coming to and end. This could be a time for you to discover a new hobby, read the book that has been on your side table for three months, call your grandparents, mom, dad, sister or brother and have a quality conversation (just try to avoid the topic of COVID19).
Flight prices are dropping, but that doesn't mean it's time for you to take an impromptu vacation. You know why fares are plummeting? It's because the economy is hurting and demand is dropping (thank you to those choosing not to fly). Leave those cheap flights for someone who really needs them, say to fly cross-country and take care of a sick relative. If you have money burning a hole in your pocket that you just can't wait to part with, I urge you instead to look to your community and see where you could be of help. I'll bet there's a food pantry or free lunch program that could use some monetary assistance. Speaking of food, if the aisles of your local Walmart, Costco or other big box store is looking a bit thin this week, consider shopping local. Asian grocery stores have always been my secret gold mine of good (cheap) eats, but right now some of them are hurting thanks to racism from those who believe this virus is Chinese. Sorry to break it to you, but viruses don't adhere to racial stigma or preference.
Also, don't go to the bars, alcohol does not kill the virus, it will actually do it's part to weaken your immune system. Also, drunk people are probably the least likely to be cautious about hand washing, covering their mouths or not touching each other. So please, don't go to the bars and laugh about the current state of the world.
The world is in a fragile state right now, emotions are high, stock markets are a mess and the global economy is doing somersaults. At the end of the day though, we can each do our part to help slow the spread of this virus, check-in on our friends and family, calm each others worries or concerns and continue living our lives - despite the disruptions that may [will] occur.
Emptying my Head
I'm an overthinker, my brain is always on overdrive. Sometimes the thoughts are pertinant to life, and other times they're just a trove of wonder. They're usually about, related to or in memory of travel. When they're good I like to share.