Understatement for the day: the quarantine has affected a lot of things.
Recently, I posted some photos in a photography group on Facebook; generally this group is supposed to be encouraging and uplifting, but instead the response I got was shocking. The photos were of my kids on the front porch during the quarantine and my daughter was making a different face in each of the photos. I called it the ‘5 stages of quarantine’ and put a little blurb with each photo obviously (or so I thought it was obvious) intending for it to be lighthearted and funny. The response I got was basically telling me that I was a bad person for making light of the quarantine and accepting social isolation as the ‘new norm,’ which according to this person, is taking away ‘our basic human rights.’ Again, I was completely shocked and taken back by what was said, but it definitely got me thinking. While this particular person may see practicing social isolation as ‘our rights being taken away,’ I see it as doing our duty to support those around us who are more vulnerable. It had never even occurred to me that my way of thinking may not be the obvious choice to everyone.
When others are needing our help, isn’t our job to step up and do what is necessary? Even if that means sacrificing some of our own luxuries and freedoms? If staying home in the evenings and on the weekends, not seeing my friends and family, and cancelling essentially all plans means that I can keep people out of the hospital from a severe respiratory illness or worse, then without a doubt I am on board. I will stay home if that increases the chance of your grandmother staying out of the hospital; I will stay home if that keeps your child’s first grade teacher with asthma out of the hospital; I will stay home if that means one of your best friend’s husband on immunosuppressant therapy will not need to go to the hospital; I will stay home so that your neighbor on chemotherapy for breast cancer can have an opportunity to get through this pandemic unscathed. If staying home limits the spread to other people, I will make that sacrifice for you, for them, for everyone. And I will continue to make that choice. Again. And again. And again. Every. Single. Time.
Yes, it might be boring. Yes, it might be mentally and physically exhausting, but the quarantine is temporary for me and probably for the majority of us. However, there are tens of thousands of people in the United States alone who will never get to see the other side of this quarantine. They will never get to hug their families again, they will never get to see a sunset again, they will never get to exist again. That is why I make the sacrifice to stay home: to limit the number of people who will not survive the pandemic.
Yes, it may be our ‘basic human right’ to have freedom, but even more so, what about survival? Isn’t one of our fundamental rights as humans to survive? By exercising my freedom to the fullest capacity, doesn’t that mean I could be taking away someone else’s right to survive during a highly contagious pandemic? Instead, I am exercising my freedom by choosing to stay home, and in doing so, I am preserving the right to survival for others who are higher risk. I praise those of you who are doing the same. To the others who see the quarantine as a violation of our freedom, I would like to ask you this: if the roles were reversed, would you not expect others to do the same for you?
So YES! I freely choose the right to stay home and I will gladly accept this as the new normal. And YES! I will share my quarantine photos with the world in hopes of spreading a little cheer to an otherwise dire situation. For those of you who do not share my opinion, I hope your families and friends are healthy. But if they’re not, regardless of your views today, I will still be there for you and for them if they get sick. I will not judge you for your decisions because you have that right, but do not criticize me for mine.
Now I also understand that I am in a unique position where it is possible for me to comfortably stay home while I’m not at work. My husband and I are the lucky few who financially have not been hit as hard during this economic crisis; so of course I understand peoples’ desires to get back to work and get the economy rolling again, but that is not the same as not wanting to stay home due to ‘your freedoms being suppressed.’ I’m sorry for those of you that feel that way because that makes this quarantine a much more challenging task for you. Instead, consider thinking of it as your duty to help other people during a time of need. And your duty during this time is sacrificing some of your freedoms in order to benefit the overall health of the world. Remember, it’s only temporary, and we are all in this together.
And so, without further ado, here are the 5 Stages of Quarantine along with a few extras.
Confusion—The government expects us to do what??
Rejection—I refuse to follow these requests!
Anger—I can’t believe all the shops and restaurants are closed!
Realization—This may actually help slow the spread…
Acceptance—Social isolation is my new normal.
April 29, 2020