“To thine own self be true…thou canst not then be false to any man” (Shakespeare) I presume (no ass-ume for me) that in order to be true, one must know thineself. Of course, those of us who are at retirement age (aren’t most of us?) must, by now, know ourselves…inside and out. Do you KNOW why you respond in definite ways to certain stimuli? Are you aware of how long, or short, your fuse is and what sets it off? (I just got a spam call, right this minute, and believe me, it set me off!) What makes you content with your life? What do you NEED daily to feel satisfied with life?
I thought I knew myself: independent, self-sufficient. (H’m, why is it I can’t fix my drippy, leaky kitchen faucet? Is it because I’m too ignorant or unskilled? Or is it because I don’t have the right tools? Aw, that must be it!)
More to the point. Quarantine is teaching me some things. Knowing that I CAN’T go and do everything I please; I’m now feeling deprived, insufficient in myself for maintaining my own happiness. I’m knocking my head against a brick wall with a sign that reads: “Huh, You aren’t as self-sufficient as you thought you were”. As the clock ticks through each 61-minute hour I wonder what can I do NOW?
Do you relate to any of this? Or am I just a lily-livered baby? This period of self-confinement is perhaps making us more aware, more “true” to ourselves. I’m discovering: I need people, I need schedules, I need reasons for fulfillment. And, yes, left to myself with no deadline pressures, I just want to slough off. Isn’t that enough to damage your self-respect?
Someday we will get back to normal. But maybe a new normal, a different normal from what we have known. Who knows? The Industrial Revolution brought a new normal. Henry Ford’s Model T brought a new normal. People rebounded, adjusted and life went on.
I hope our new normal won’t include masks, social distancing and no hugging. I hope we can go back to the crowded jams and happy social events we all knew. Who knows what we may have to sacrifice. Perhaps the question will be is saving a few lives worth it? Is saving our own life worth it? Or the lives of our friends or relatives? Statistics don’t count; people do. The popular saying, “The life you save may be your own” is more true today than ever.