It’s The End Of The World As We Know It

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That is the title of a 1997 song from REM.  I miss that band.  I have some time now so maybe I’ll Google what has been happening with them. We all probably have more time now.  It’s odd, isn’t it?

Usually we humans are rushing about getting ourselves and our family members to all the scheduled and overscheduled obligations with which we fill our lives.  And now, we are not.

While the world is experiencing a pandemic of COVID-19, we are ceasing all outside group activities, are stocking up on food and toilet paper and cleaning products and being told by our government leaders to stay home.  People who can are working from home.   Social gatherings are being postponed or cancelled and only really essential businesses are remaining open.  Everything else is shutting down.  It is a scary situation but hopefully temporary.

No one knows what is going to happen.  This is definitely unprecedented in the modern world.

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I’ve done some research recently on the flu epidemic in 1918, and as everyone else who has internet access, I have an unlimited supply of articles to read.   Here is what I learned from Wikipedia.

The Spanish flu infected 500 million people around the world, or about 27% of the world population of between 1.8 and 1.9 billion. The death toll is estimated to have been anywhere from 17 million to 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million, making it one of the deadliest epidemics in human history.

Most people have passed away who lived to experience that pandemic.  The last many generations have never seen anything like this, so therefore, may not be taking the protocols seriously.

In 1918, people weren’t travelling like we do now, or did until recently anyway, so I worry that if this really does become serious, we could have staggering loss of life. 

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Knowledge is power, but in this instance, I think it would be wise to STOP Googling things around the virus or watching news stories and just shut off the devices.   Instead, get back to the pastimes of the predigital age.   Read books, write poems, songs or stories, do crossword puzzles, play boardgames, exercise in your house by doing sit-ups and pushups, pull out the vinyl records and show your kids the amazing album covers and music of your youth, do some arts and crafts projects, learn a new skill and by all means, avoid human contact as much as possible.  

All of the professional speakers I know have had events cancelled or postponed through April 2020, and few groups are booking events for the foreseeable future either.  In just this one industry, think of the repercussions and lost business. Commerce in that sense has STOPPED for everyone.

Many people we know work at or own retail stores and gyms, work in restaurants and bars or provide non-healthcare services of many types and those businesses are not operational right now.  There is a real fear about making money to pay bills, but most of us are all collectively in the same boat.

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The government is trying to stave off total economic panic by lowering interest rates, halting trading and implementing other things to try to stabilize the wildly fluctuating markets and economy.  I guess it would be a good time to refinance a mortgage, but I think we will just wait things out and see what happens.  We truly aren’t “buying” anything right now, and we most certainly are not checking on retirement account values.

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We are very lucky, and many say smart, to have left the city and bought our farm three years ago  We have been implementing homesteading techniques and learning to live simply which requires a lot of physical work and planning. 

At this time of year, I would always be tapping maple trees and making syrup, starting all the pepper, peas, eggplant, rhubarb seeds and also many lettuces and herbs.  I will say depending on what actually happens in the world, I will be planting WAY more vegetables than I usually do.  I have the greenhouse ready to grow many more varieties of vegetables, and we have some ideas about adding other crops as well.  I am also taking really good care of my chickens as they give us eggs. I bought a ton of locally grown and milled ancient grain flours and yeast to make bread. 

We were talking last night about putting the freeze dryer back into operation again and making a lot of dog and cat treats from chicken and cuts of beef.  We can also freezedry food for ourselves, which we haven’t done in a while.   

As long as things don’t really go crazy and we maintain electric service, we should be okay because we are pretty self-sufficient out here, but, electric is really important and hard to do without.  I made sure all the flashlights and oil lamps are loaded with fresh batteries and oil, and yes, we did some target practice this past weekend.

Am I getting paranoid worrying about everything that could happen during a complete social and economic breakdown and apocalypse?  I am an avid horror fiction reader and show watcher, so have seen in make believe what happens to cultures when we have some sort of massive shift change.  I worry about the what-ifs.  It is my nature. 

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I worry about our friends and family in densely populated areas.  People who live in crowded urban areas can’t easily escape masses of humans and the germs we can transmit.

I have German relatives and we have been Direct Messaging daily going over the latest developments in our respective countries.  Everyone is self-isolating.  Worldwide, schools are at least temporarily educating students online and people are practicing lots of healthy habits that honestly we should have been doing all along.

Photo by 🇨🇭 Claudio Schwarz | @purz

Being the daughter of a nurse, it was drilled into my head as a child to NEVER TOUCH YOUR FACE, wash your hands as soon as you enter from the outside and be as clean as possible with your personal hygiene and belongings.

I am lucky that I don’t anymore work in an office environment or a retail store.  I have worked in both types of places and definitely had more illnesses when I had greater exposure to humans, no matter how many times I washed my hands.  Germs are spread through the air and human contact, so this social distancing we are hopefully all practicing for two weeks or longer should help stop the widespread travelling of this virus.  We have to protect ourselves and others, especially the elderly and immunity-challenged/compromised.  

Yes, life has changed, and no matter what happens with this virus, whether we have mass casualties worldwide or the majority are spared with these good practices and healthy immune systems, our awareness about our fragility has changed and will be forever etched into our psyche.  After this is over,  I do not believe humans will as carefreely bebop around the planet without considering what we and others could be carrying around and giving to one another and what our actions do to each other.   I think there will be a heavy layer of innocence lost and that is not necessarily a bad thing.  I think we take for granted our 21st century healthcare and our ability to source everything we need quickly.  I wonder if we truly appreciate our democratic society that provides a nice place for us with pretty much all the goods and services that we need to survive. 

I think that as we all together face the unknown and the loss of income and personal freedom, the suspension of socializing for any reasons; weddings, funerals, sporting events, music and dance recitals, charity fundraisers etc., that we may gain a greater respect for what is truly important. 

Photo by Caleb Gregory on Unsplash

I think this could be a good opportunity to learn and practice more empathy, more caring, more kindness, understanding and compassion and gratefulness for what we do have even now.

Hopefully we will come out of this on the other side better people and stronger for the next pandemic that will eventually come.   I hope our world scientists find a vaccine and life returns to normal soon.

God bless us all.  #grateful #helpothers #wewillsurvive