Paper Clips: June 2021


by Elaine Corrington

Are We Coming Back to Life?
We often hear stories about people who keep themselves hidden away from the rest of us because of choices they have made– or that were made for them– about where and how they would live and survive.
A two-hour movie describing those choices, and why they were made, is about all we can stand. And yet it compels further thought once we have left the screen behind. The choices never seemed to be a move toward anything we might have described as a happy life. Instead, they were often choices that minimized fears. Fears caused by hatred of others: family members, those who chose not to be friends, or understanding supporters who felt unable to deal with the scope or the intensity of the mental health and lifestyle choices that created these loners.
“Choices” doesn’t even seem like the right word to describe the lifestyles being shown on the screen. The percentage of people living these less familiar lives is even too small to be calculated. Who and where are they?
There have been pandemics before in the lives of many of us that are older. None of them had the impact of the COVID pandemic. Part of that is because we never had the access to all of the information, speculation and bickering both personal and world-wide that we have today. The hidden people were not mythological, but they– and their stories– were unavailable to us. But we are available to tell our lonely stories and make our fearful decisions with information both corroborated and totally unsubstantiated. It is clear to some of us that there is substantial information we can use to make choices that will protect us, our loved ones, and even those we consider jerks from the predictable possibilities of the virus.
We don’t hide that choice, and we see ever more information that supports decreasing fears by making those choices. I know of no one who refuses to share making those choices. It is clear from some others that they think the touted prevention strategies actually endanger those who believe in and take the offered preventative measures, and will cause far greater harm to modern people. The world-wide prevention strategies are due both to the proof of effectiveness, and the need to do what can be done to stop progression of the pandemic.
Although there is still a huge threat from the pandemic and the great numbers of people who have not been able to choose and use measures that can be effective, some things are changing. If you have taken the vaccine, there are many restrictions that are being loosened, and it seems we are coming back to a life of choices that we value personally, professionally, and for just plain fun.
Can we cast all concerns behind? Nope. Will everyone believe it? Nope. Do we know everything, and will we make sure that the best choices are available for everybody? We’ll try. Is there still joy to be had? Yes.
If nothing else, we know what we have missed, and we can make sure that we find the safest way to make those joyful choices available to us and plan ahead for coming back to life, or going back to the lonely fearful misery we experienced in living without available joyful choices. Don’t be the antihero or heroine for a two-hour movie about hiding away from life in fear. That doesn’t make you safe. Celebrate those joyful moments that came about because you did something great that was fun, or even did something that turned out awful that was fun.
And be prepared to offer friends and family the same.