I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify our species and I realized that we are not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but we humans do not. We move to an area and multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way we can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. We are the plague and Corona is the cure.
Now before you click 'X', judge me or say "Damn, what a negative piece of..." I must disclose those are NOT my words, it's a speech from The Matrix but eh, I'm not exactly disagreeing (Larry David voice). If you remember the interrogation scene, Agent Smith delivers this powerful message to Morpheus and while it was filmed over 20 years ago, I can’t help but think how pertinent it is to what we’re facing today. It's almost as if Mother Nature is teaching us a lesson. Not to say it's an Old Testament, angry God smiting us lesson, it's more along the lines of there's something to be learned from all this, but it's up to us to figure it out. Now as long as we stay conscious I truly believe we can beat this thing fast but if we don't abide by the tide, the longer the storm will last. I’ll be real with you, at first I didn't take it seriously either and I only thought of myself. "So what if it's 10 times worse than the flu, I'm healthy! I'm not going to put my life on hold for something that could happen!" Then I heard risks that it might cause permanent lung damage even if you don't get the full diagnosis... I figured not to play with fire on this one. I'm a cannabis enthusiast and marathoner, so yeah. Yet looking back, that was pretty selfish and I should have been thinking about others who could really be hurt by this. Now I try to stay mindful and behave like I already have it, self-isolation like a prison sentence and hands cleaner than a SoCal diet.
There is undoubtedly a dark cloud above our Earth and this is our test as a species. It's during this time of crisis where God, Mother Nature, the Universe or whatever higher power you believe in will challenge you unlike anything you've experience before. We will be tested on our ability to adapt, work together, minimize luxuries and find balance with the changing environment. Now I firmly believe you need to put yourself first in order to take care of others but not in a douchebag way. Hoarding all the toilet paper isn't going to benefit, let alone save you. I don’t mean to be rude, but your first world problems are showing. Some of you might have chuckled at that and it's probably because you've been put through the ringer before. You know what it's like to scramble money for bills, cook full course meals with a damn near empty kitchen and not have the freedom of going wherever you please. However, let’s say this is the first time you’re experiencing quarantine and catastrophe that's okay, but here are some tips on being less of a virus and more of a cure.
1. Stay at Home & Socially Distance!
To reiterate, it's not about YOU and how healthy you are, it's about protecting US as a society. To get straight to the point, my best friend is type 1 diabetic, I have many cherished relatives over 65 years old and one of my favorite colleagues was diagnosed with cancer last year. To say they should be on lockdown and not the rest of us is one of the most incredibly selfish things I've heard during this whole episode. While they may need supplies, medicine, or actual essentials, they are risking so much just to be around someone who needs fresh air and Oreos. Even if you have no symptoms remember it can take about 2 weeks to show. So the woman you brushed shoulders with on your jog last week and the guy's neck you were breathing down in the supermarket yesterday are all at risk now because you didn't socially distance. That lady is someone's grandmother, that man is someone's best friend, be considerate during this time and pretend nobody wants your ass next to them (in a loving way of course). Or think of it like this; because you have no symptoms you may think your genitalia is clean as a whistle when in fact, you have chlamydia. So no, it's not cool to go around having unprotected sex with everything that walks just because you don't know you have it or worse, you don't care because 'it's not that bad'. I know that you too have people you care about at great risk and their time may not be as easy as yours if tested positive for Coronavirus.
Instead of going out, reach out to old friends and call loved ones. Write letters to people you care about. Skype happy hours are super fun and you might be surprised with how you can conduct business online. This is your opportunity to grow, step up and really connect with people instead of going out and ending up on your phone anyway. You can even learn a new skill! I've personally made a quarantine checklist of things I need to accomplish before this is over and you could totally do the same. We all have to sacrifice on this one. My fitness studios closed down, I had to cancel shows, postpone workshops and my isolated birthday a couple weeks ago was quite the celebration. But it's nothing to ask sympathy for, we're all in this together (Aries punishment for being an asshole I guess 😉). So if I can stop things on my end, maybe you could hold off on visiting those friends? Maybe take a loss on the paycheck for now? Maybe slow down your appearances in airports? Cancelling Spring Break isn't the end of the world either, but to lose a loved one could be.
2. Get Only What You Need...
To segway from number 1, we need to stop going crazy at the store every other day for shit we don't need. I was guilty of it too but it's overcrowding public spaces and making social distancing more challenging. Not to mention, our fear of starving leads us to overbuying and then we end up wasting products. Americans alone waste nearly 40% of purchased food supply a year, according to the USDA. That's over 100,000 tons a day! Can you imagine during this time? I know it sucks because I've been guilty of it in the past but I had to be checked by some friends as well. Especially since one of them had grandparents in the Holocaust; I felt like such an asshole knowing I've wasted groceries due to mindless shopping when there's literally people struggling to eat everyday. However, this goes beyond food, it includes medicine and supplies as well. There's medicine that people need for existing conditions like arthritis, but with pharmacies out of stock they will suffer due to another person projecting their own fears of becoming sick. Look, I get it... The zombie apocalypse is a scary thing but stockpiling essentials for you and your family only contributes to the outbreak. By keeping everything to yourself, you're creating more chances for the public to become sick which eventually puts you at higher probability of becoming ill. Hear that sound? That's the sound of inevitability. Now if you're just an asshole who wants to take advantage of the poor and elderly, you're a piece of shit and there's really no convincing you otherwise so cool bro, enjoy life as a viral infection in all of our asses.
Now I'm not saying you can't get your favorite snacks and munchies. You think I didn't get 10 boxes of cereal? It's learning how to rationalize and preserve the goods for weeks. Overeating is extremely common and especially in America. This is the chance to gain a little more self-control and we're all capable of it. Yes, I've eaten a box of Cheerios in one sitting but I've also been so broke that I had to make lentils last 2 weeks before my next direct deposit and it was challenging but not impossible! Rice, pasta & oatmeal go a long way too! Also, because they can take months maybe even a year to perish, those are the kinds of foods you want to think about for the long haul. If you need recipes, I got you! Now remember my best friend? The diabetic, well the other day we were on the phone and he told me that he only got a few weeks worth of insulin because he knew it would be in high demand during this time and decided he wasn't going to be a scared, greedy asshole. I was so proud of my homie! Truth is, that's the way we gotta act, like the world isn't ending. If we just shop normally and try our best to consume what we already have, we won't run into empty supermarkets or pharmacies. It's important not to panic, panic is just as contagious as the virus, so keep it chill and you'll see that things play out just like they normally do. It's only because we all think we have a month to live that we're going apeshit shopping.
3. Don't Spread Misinformation
If you are posting and reposting any kind of information about Covid-19 without researching it further, you are part of the problem. Why? Because just like you, many people react before they breathe and you never know what emotions you might elicit in others by submitting unsupported "facts". You may be the cause of someone's anxiety or carelessness, maybe even xenophobic thoughts. In fact, did you know the Spanish Flu of 1918 was given its name because Spain was the only country honest about its outbreak numbers? While other countries like Germany, France and the U.S. downplayed influenza, many fingers were pointed at Spain for being the most contaminated and do you think anybody welcomed Spaniards afterwards, no. So be wise about what you call it, naming it the Chinese Virus is tactical racism, as you could be spreading danger towards Chinese and other Asian Americans. There's also no need to keep posting every time somebody dies or if the government is hiding something. That stress weakens the immune system so you end up doing more harm than good. To the ones who keep posting that this is a hoax and are downplaying it, like I said, you can have a party with all your friends who feel the same but just like chlamydia, don't try to fuck the rest of us. I know, it's hard when the President of the United States doesn't even know what's going on but unless it's from the CDC or Dr. Anthony Fauci, it's probably best not to listen. Better yet, why not just read a medical book and learn history of diseases on your own? Instead of relying on someone else's information.
Take a break from the news and social media by limiting your screen time. Especially if your goal is proving how right you are. Posting ignorant information only creates more contamination so instead, post a picture of animals hugging each other or something funny totally unrelated. Unless you're spreading love and kindness, I don't want to hear it. There's too much toxicity out there already. I can't say what it is exactly; but between race wars, battle of the sexes and liberals versus conservatives, it almost seems impossible to stay neutral in a world of dualities. As the old saying goes, divide and conquer. We need to look at this crisis in a gray scale and comprehend that it won't just go away, that we need to work together to stop it, not prove each other wrong. This would be a great time to learn stress management techniques or brush up on your history, put the phone down, shut the TV off and flip through some pages! (After reading this of course).
4. Be Empathetic & Help When You Can!
This pretty much sums up 1, 2 and 3. Everyone on this earth is facing adversary at the moment. So be wary of people who are only interested in what directly affects them. In other words, they don't care who's at risk of dying from this disease, old or vulnerable, as long as they're okay. Not a thought will cross their mind about the healthcare professionals and grocery store workers putting in overtime for being on the frontlines. They have no thoughts of low-income families that live like this regularly and right now are suffering more than others just to survive. They don't care that wrongly accused men and women face a quarantine much more unjust than ours in a broken prison system. They straight up could give a shit that our great grandkids may be fighting for food and water like we are now. Don't become one of these infections, believe me when I say during this time, people will show their real selves and when they do, believe them. When this passes, and this too shall pass, you will have a clear vision of who you can lean on when times get hard and who's heading for the hills.
Do the best you can to place yourself in other people's shoes. Remember, the reality is many were sick, starving and suffering before all this. Empathize a little bit more with the people who are working really rigorous hours. Show gratitude for what you have now instead of complaining about what you don't have. Be empathetic towards refugees fleeing war torn territories to escape awful living conditions. Understand that a little bottle of hand sanitizer can be a whole lot for a homeless person trying to stay healthy. Even those wrongfully imprisoned and in solitary confinement, I mean we've been on lockdown for a week and have Netflix, can you imagine being in a 4 x 4 cell for years alone with nothing? Open your heart towards impoverished communities who might need groceries before you because they rely on food stamps which only can be used at the beginning of the month. Be kind to any and every worker regardless if they're a doctor or bagging groceries. Covid-19 is teaching us that NOBODY is more important than another person and each of us should be treated with respect. Believe it or not, showing empathy to everyone will also make you surprisingly happier. Instead of creating a hierarchical chart of your own importance, take this moment to help anyone anyway you can. Think of friends who might need a little pep talk dealing with the changes and anxiety. Maybe a local business you love is working online, how can you support them? The little things matter and are free, like thanking a doctor or nurse you know. Hell, you'd be so amazed at how much a phone call means to your great uncle.
5. Let the World Heal
Ignorance is bliss, but one man's bliss is another man's bullshit. People who are continuing to over-travel for pleasure, drive aimlessly and disorder nature are most likely the same unempathetic assholes who still think this "isn't a big deal". The earth needs our empathy more than anything right now. For centuries, we've abused wildlife, tainted the environment and left carbon footprints everywhere, so forgive me but Mother Nature is tired of our bullshit. When was the last time we had to retreat to our homes because animals were at war? When did plants ever cause smog? Never. The need to be seen on social media has also made us senseless, disrupting animal habitats and nature all for some likes and exposure. The viruses of this world don't care though and they won't even be fazed by Corona. They will continue to eat Earth's natural resources by taking and taking and taking. When our guidelines cease, they will go back to 10 flights a week, flexing that they get to travel like a "boss" 😑. They will continue to support zoos and false conservations because they don't think it's possible to see animals in nature. They will mindlessly create more offspring for the sake of keeping up with their peers, without thinking if Earth has enough to offer.
It's no secret that humans are the biggest cause of pollution and chaos in the world and we're now being enlightened to our existence. By being forced into isolation, oceans have become cleaner, air is more breathable and wildlife is appearing in places it never would have before. Not to mention, because we humans are always on the move, it's incredibly hard to follow seismic activity of the Earth, but with us all slowing down, scientists can now track earthquakes and activity more accurately. Think about that, what if California could really prepare for its earthquakes? What if there was more accuracy in hypothesizing the damage a hurricane can cause? These are things that ultimately benefit us as a society. Without mass production and just buying, buying, buying, we're finally seeing nature as it should be and it's important that we conserve this lifestyle so that when we do have kids and they have kids, they are welcomed into a beautiful, naturally resourceful world instead of a suffering, polluted one.
To Sum it Up
Now one of the really sad outcomes is that when this pandemic is over, truly over, a good number of people will return to living the same lifestyle as before, if not worse to make up for loss time. In one year they will have completely forgotten about this event and move on to only what matters to them. Their skills of minimal living will cease, their consciousness of wasting resources will vanish and they will continue narcissistic paths on the road to fame and fortune forgetting all those who live like this on a daily basis. I said it once, and I'll say it again, people's true colors tend to show during times of crisis so pay attention. Yes to the people around you, but to yourself most importantly. We need to follow the guidelines given to us and be more considerate of our fellow humans. It's a good practice to pretend you've already tested positive so that nobody loses a loved one to this. I know missing a few paychecks sucks but what good is money if you're dead? Remember, nobody is impervious to Coronavirus! Let's say you just adopted a dog, you don't know if your new buddy might run off into the street, someone could steal them or what if they hurt another dog or person? You'd usually keep them on a leash in this case right? Well just pretend your that little pup and these guidelines are your leash, the more well behaved you are, the greater possibility of no leash, but you're still expected to behave. Eventually, we will beat the Coronavirus and when we do let's continue as a species to change our ways for a happier, healthier and more promising future.