8 things I hope we learn from this

  1. Universal Healthcare should be a right. I feel there is nothing I can say that hasn’t been said already so I’ll keep it short. Imagine a world where we aren’t afraid to receive medical care because of the bill, a world where a medical emergency doesn’t leave us bankrupt, a world where we take the time to educate people on health and how to prevent some of these pre-existing conditions which are now leading to death sentences.
  2. The US is not any better, smarter, or stronger than any other nation. While many of us already knew this, I’m hoping the past few weeks have taken off the blindfold for those who refused to see it before. What good is the strongest military if a virus will destroy us? How strong is an economy that can collapse in days? The “strongest nation in the world” fell because of our inability to produce…masks? I’m not even going to speak on leadership because, well, just turn on your TV...
  3. Racism is still alive and well (another reason for #2). As if Trump being elected and the recent spotlight on police brutality wasn’t enough, the pandemic is shining a bright light on the disparities in this country. Although, Dr. Fauci just explained why African-Americans are being affected disproportionally by the virus, I want to touch on the subject in a little more detail. There’s always a point in the semester where I try to explain to my students what systematic racism vs overt racism is and looks like and I feel like I never get it exactly right. Here’s another shot: Look around when you go outside, who do you see doing these “Essential Jobs” (Even for those of you who “Don’t see color”)? Do you think these people are doing these jobs right now because they want to? Look at who has the privilege of working from home and who you seeing risking their lives to pay the bills. Think about how neglected and anxious you feel right now as a citizen and then think about those who are in jail and will be greatly affected by this pandemic due to neglect and lack of resources. Then look at the statistics on who is imprisoned and at what rates. You should see some type of correlation.
  4. Essential workers are just that…essential to our livelihood. While respect and public gratitude is nice and something we should have BEEN doing, it’s clear that these jobs are beyond necessary and it’s imperative that they are compensated as such, especially when the owners of the companies are million/billionaires.
  5. It’s okay to be. Be still. Be nervous. Be sad. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I’ve never been outside of the country. I’ve heard stories and seen videos of the cultural differences outside of the US. From my perspective the most common shared attribute is other culture’s ability to just exist. No rush, no constant anxiety and fear, no feeling of needing to “be something or someone” all the time. I believe the ambition that causes our nation to produce the some of the greatest entrepreneurs and entertainers is a double edged sword. The hustler’s mentality often results in greed, a lack of empathy, and the inability to be still and reflect. Now reflection and silence has been forced upon us, hopefully it will be embedded into our future lifestyle. It’s been difficult for me because I often make myself so busy to avoid having to reflect or be still. I’m learning to accept there are days where I won’t do anything productive and that’s fine. It’s what people have been doing since the beginning of time.
  6. That thing you always said you wanted to do if you had the time, you didn’t really want to do it. This may go against number 5, but I think many of us are finding out time wasn’t the factor in achieving a goal or starting a new project. It was motivation or being too overwhelmed to actually begin the process. That’s okay, find something that does motivate you OR if you’re still feeling some type of way, get up and get started!
  7. Nothing beats physical interaction and it is vital to our mental health. Yea, the group FaceTime is cool, Instagram Live Deejays are entertaining, and there are some ways that virtual learning is teaching students but I believe we are all longing physical interaction. So next time when you’re with your family or friends, out a club or restaurant, or working with others, put the phone down and be present. This is a BIG one for me.
  8. There is nothing more important than family and health. As we pray everyday for our family members to be safe and exercise, meditate, and take unnecessary amounts of elderberry, let’s keep that same energy when this is over. Keep in touch with your family and do what you can to be healthy.

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