These quarantine months for me have been slow, filled with quiet, sprinkled with fear. I make no plans because what even is a plan when no reliable future can be predicted? This is a new way of living, turned inward, simplified.
We are changing without meaning to. We are noticing small things, and we are becoming aware of our own smallness. Who will we be when we are once again released to the world, to our many vices? What from that world truly matters now?
We are confined, yet in some ways we are more free. All that we typically waste is evident now. We have long forgotten the lesson from kindergarten about wants vs. needs. Now we see ourselves in a great mirror and must face our confusion over how much of what we want we do not actually need and our indifference to those with real needs.
Never in my lifetime has it been more clear that we can and should choose differently in order to create a better society for all of us. There is no reason we cannot support a thriving life for every person except that we choose not to. We choose instead to position ourselves above those who are unable to attain what we have. We choose our own superiority over compassion. We choose to measure human worth in terms of monetary worth.
But we can choose to live differently, beginning with our own personal sphere. We can choose to consume less and to waste less. We can choose to give more than we take. We can choose to support rather than condemn others. We can choose to operate from the assumption that there is always more we can learn. We can choose to be kind.
Some of us have been forced into a simplified life with limited consumption and lots of time to fill. But others have been forced into an impossible situation of having to work and care for children at the same time; or of having to search for work alongside thousands of others also searching for the same limited jobs; or of being trapped inside long term care facilities without contact with loved ones; or into long hours watching people suffer and die while fearing for their own safety and, in turn, the safety of their own families. This is the society we have chosen to create, where some are able to weather a crisis virtually unscathed (though inconvenienced) while others must bear the weight of the struggle. It doesn’t need to be this way. It is a choice we have made.
Why would we choose to perpetuate this injustice? We can choose differently. We must.