I wrote the following on March 10th and never pushed “publish”. I now look back at what I wrote and think it’s important to read and reflect on the events that have unfolded over the last month and a half. I feel like I knew what was coming. And yet there are people that want to get back to what might not be possible for a long time….
March 10, 2020
As I sit in a plush workspace in the middle of the New York City Financial District – the chaos of the world is blocked out in this zen space. I’ve been in the city for 2 weeks, which feels like months. So much has happened in that span. I came here the minute I got paperwork finalized for my Greek visa. It turns out I didn’t have everything I needed – so my plans came crashing down only fanned by some burning embers of hope that I’d be living and thriving in Athens and ultimately the Greek Islands.
In 2 weeks the Corona Virus has stunned the world, the refugee crisis in Turkey/Syria has escalated to an invasion of European borders (starting with Greece) and Russia and Saudi Arabia have created an oil war. The stock market has crashed and the media is on top of all of it, scaring the living shit out of everyday people and giving half truths and opinions instead of hope, direction and facts.
Didn’t we prepare for this at all? Every movie we’ve watched has predicted that all of this has been a matter of time. Yet as I walk around Manhattan, I see no panic and we are not being told to stay home. It’s business as usual where people are sneezing in their hands, touching their faces. Did you know we touch our faces between 5 and 50 times an hour? I sat in a street level window just watching people pass by yesterday and it was literally a germ fest.
I’ve talked to many friends who’s lives are affected with the closing of schools, being told to work from home and conferences being canceled. My friends who work in study abroad programs are seeing a steep decline in student enrollment for international and domestic programs. To think that life is not going to be changed is to be naive.
I am studying cultural exchanges by talking to people on an application called Cambly. In this application I have conversations with adults all over the world who are practicing their english. We talk about all subjects instead of having lessons around grammar or vocabulary. It’s a natural way to learn. The predominate conversation revolves around current events. And that is largely Corona Virus and what each country is going through. In Saudi Arabia there is a town that had a traveler from Iran come through with the virus and it shut the city of 3 million down. Same with people I’ve spoken to in South Korea. I’ve even spoke to 2 people in China, one in the epicenter of Wuhan. She told me they cannot go outside. If they need groceries, they get their temperature taken, hands sanitized, masks on and they can go shop for whatever is left. Masks are pointless yet they are expensive and limited to how many are bought.
Mainly people are just scared but no one is really talking about what happens when we get it, how much it costs to get checked out at a hospital, or the long term effects of those who get it and don’t die. I see people in NYC who I know they cannot afford health insurance; what happens if they get it? I doubt they will seek medical attention if they don’t want to come out with an astronomical bill. So then we know who might have this virus based on who can afford to be tested? My head spins with the possibilities of dysfunctional systems in place.
As a coach I wonder what this is doing to our mind body connection. Personally I started to feel a cough last week and shortness of breath. I worried and looked at things on the internet. I didn’t have a fever but I did feel fatigued. I got a solid 12 hours of sleep and felt brand new the next day. But my thoughts went straight to – did I just do that to myself? We have some pretty powerful psychological effects on ourselves. Stress plays in to our immunity. And this self-fulfilling prophecy of watching this virus spread, to getting stressed, to getting sick is a very real scenario. It creates panic in our minds and body.
It’s at this critical time that we need to be taking our awareness into check and understand what we are doing to protect ourselves and others. Yes, wash your hands and try not to touch your face or anything else. I think the most important thing is to try to limit exposure to media grandstanding. Get information from reliable sources. Try to get plenty of rest and now you can take that opportunity to prove to your boss that you can work from home.
I don’t want to stop my life, and especially my nomadic lifestyle, for an illness that is worse than the flu but not understood yet. But I will do what is necessary for the greater good of humanity and I think everyone else should look at the bigger picture and keep you and those who are vulnerable safe.
I want to know how you’re coping Comment and let me know and how I can support you!
Stay healthy and positive,