Being right is not always a good feeling. Smugness can quickly fade to impending doom and a pandemic is no time to for I told you so’s. The Chinese were buying up masks like crazy to ship back home. A virus. Rumblings of a problem sure to become a global story. I told my wife “this could impact millions of people.” Millions could get sick.
I started planning for misfortune. I packed away masks. I built a first aid kit. I bought cans of spam and long-life milk. I grasped at whatever futile moves I could to remind myself I was in control. Worry turned to fear. Fear turned to panic. Panic turned back into fear and around and round we went. Anxiety and depression become the new normal. Stability was pulled out from under me and I was left shocked and no longer in control. “You fool. Stability isn’t something that can be planned for any more than the weather. Don’t bother planning for catastrophe. There’s nothing you can do but hang on and hope the ride doesn’t end before you’re ready to go. You can only sit and watch and wait for your turn.”
My generation lived through one of the most globally stable periods in human history. Our time was MTV, and the free days of the internet. Email, AOL, and chat rooms. Summers chasing thrills and searching for highs. As adults we brought children into the world knowing that stability doesn’t last. That likely we would face some adversity or terrible setback to what was deemed as human progress. We prophecised about it in movies, in tv, and books. And yet we reproduced anyway.
There I sat with not one but two children. A fully-fledged family to raise and care for during a pandemic. “Move to the mountains. Get away from people. Protect yourself. Protect your family.” These were my instincts. They still are.