5 Things I’ve Learned During This Pandemic

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At first, I thought the media was blowing this out of proportion. Then I thought it would be over by April. Now I've settled into Shelter in Place and have learned a few things about myself, about others, and about my dogs. How are you doing?

Around the world, human beings are practicing social distancing. Everyone has turned into an expert in everything. And toilet paper is worth more than food.

The coronavirus is real and not a tool wielded by the media to increase ratings and distract us from our favorite reality TV shows. As I type this, I'm in my home office, surrounded by sleeping dogs, taking a break from the duties of my day job to share my thoughts on what I'm seeing on social media.

Over the past week, I've unfriended, unfollowed, and snoozed a lot of people because the panic is real and it's bringing out the worse in everyone. I didn't think things could be worse than when Trump got elected, but it is. Four years ago, social media was a place where people were calling for everyone to get along, crying about the end of the world, and unfriending anyone who held a different point of view. Today, I see people who still think COVID-19 is just another version of the flu, some are making plans to shoot anyone who comes for their toilet paper and food, and an endless stream of memes that just aren't funny anymore.

Well, a few are funny.

So, who are these people whom I call friends? And what are they teaching me?

1 – “I Already Wash My Hands”

People are having a blast laughing at the fact that humans have to be told to wash their hands. You can tell the people who don't work in offices because they're surprised that adults need to be told to wash their hands. I worked with a woman who never washed her hands and when I asked her about it, her response was: “I don't piss on my hands.” Yeah, classy. Well, what about the people who did and they touched all the surfaces you just touched?

The truth, for me, is that I have never washed my hands this much in my life and I should have been. And I don't wash my hands this thoroughly unless I've been making dog food (mixing it with my hands) or gardening. Plus, I've been paying attention to the number of things I touch that are touched by others. I don't know what those people got, I don't know where they've been – but here I am touching stuff – Nasty.

My hands are always dry. I wonder if the people who stocked up on soap and hand sanitizer also purchased lotion.

2 – “More People Died from the Flu – Calm Down”

Every time I see a post like this, I feel sad for the person sharing it because it does give you a brief sense of “it's not that bad,” until someone comes along and points out that it's not a fair comparison. People are comparing a full season of the flu to a week or so of the coronavirus. When all the numbers come in, we'll see that COVID-19 wins!

What's frustrating about this statement is that it's fueling the idea that its business as usual. We just need to wash our hands but we can go about life like nothing is wrong. The problem with that logic is that it's not just about if one person does or doesn't get sick. I may have been exposed to COVID-19 weeks ago and I'm a carrier. I don't know. And everyone I come into contact with may now be exposed too. And they take it home to family members, some of whom may have a compromised immune system.

I'm learning that we need to take all of this seriously. This isn't just a very bad cold.

3 – Prepping for the Zombie Apocolypse

I was at Costco, several grocery stores, and pet stores along with everyone else stocking up. Why? Because of the people who were hoarding everything. I was worried that we'd reach a point where we ran out of something and we'd we using leaves to wipe our butts. I didn't fight anyone over a grocery cart full of toilet paper, but we have enough rolls to last us for a while. We're also good on food, dog food, cat food, soap, hand sanitizer, toothpaste, deodorant, and more.

I should have been doing this all along. There's a sense of calm knowing that we don't have to leave the house, which is a good thing. When I started stocking up, I had no idea what to buy. I didn't realize how much we eat out because my first trip to the store resulted in a cart full of food that would go bad in under a week.

With the help of friends, I figured it out and now we're covered for through the summer on many things and we'll be stopping by the store weekly to shop for groceries. Thankfully, we're not at a point where we're stuck eating a diet of canned food.

Look to the people with big families to learn how to stock up on supplies.

4 – “We're All Going to Die!!!”

I get it. This is a scary time. But the number of people who come to Facebook to post their predictions of millions of deaths is astounding. I've unfriended so many people. That negative thinking isn't helping anyone.

Okay, so this is probably where I'm going to lose many people and I'm okay. I'm a firm believer in the Law of Attraction. The one bible quote from my years of Catholic school and Sunday services is “as ye sow so shall ye reap.” I firmly believe that when I plant seeds of negativity and doubt, then I will reap a crop of the same. However, when I plant seeds of positivity and hope, then my crops will reflect my attitude. As a person who lives with anxiety and depression, I simply cannot afford to be negativity on my best of days. I definitely don't have room for it at this time.

I get that some people are at high risk due to their jobs or their physical health. So far, according to the news, I'm not at high risk. For me to use this time to dive deep into negative waters will not only raise my risk of illness or death, it would alienate me from others. Very few people thrive on darkness and negativity.

The worst thing I saw was an article shared by MSN that stated at 10,000 fatalities, more people in the US have died of coronavirus than any war. When you read the article, they're referencing wars from hundreds of years ago – not WWI, WWII, or the Vietnam War. They chose the wars with the smallest count and used that along with some random references to create a clickbait article to scare people.

MSN has officially become “fake news” in my mind.

5 – My Dogs Need Training

And this past couple of weeks working at home has shown me that my dogs need more training. They're great and having five dogs on a property with no fence and no one escapes. But I have taught Rodrigo that he only has to listen to me after I call his name a THIRD time. And I still need to work with Apollo on his recall. The worst part, for me, is that Johan doesn't have these issues with the dogs, it's only me. So, we need more training.

I took Rodrigo for a walk with the other dogs a few days ago – he's still reactive towards bicycles. So now I take him and Sydney for car rides a few days a week. When it comes to the Shelter in Place, we're blessed because we live on five acres. So I'm to complaining, I'm just recognizing that I've been slacking in the training area and I'm thankful for this time to work with the dogs.

At first, I thought the media was blowing this out of proportion. Then I thought it would be over by April. Now I've settled into Shelter in Place and have learned a few things about myself, about others, and about my dogs. How are you doing?

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