Thoughts on Lockdown: This Isn’t About You

A note: Starting April 6 and moving into the foreseeable future, I’m going to be sharing my thoughts on lockdown — along with a random photo from more carefree days. Thanks for joining me on this journey.

grand canyon rafting

Returning from our afternoon walk this afternoon, I couldn’t help but notice small groups of people hanging around. There weren’t too many people congregating — a group of four women, a group of three men and two children. The problem isn’t that they’re breaking the city’s rules of being in groups of more than two people, or that they’re standing within two meters of each other, or even that they’re not wearing masks. Though, those are problems too.

The real problem is that they’re doing these things for selfish reasons. 

I’m assuming (and this might be a big assumption) that if any one of these people knew they had coronavirus, they wouldn’t be hanging out with other people so casually. I’m assuming they all think they don’t have coronavirus. That they are exempt from the guidelines because they are the exception.

And I can’t really blame them. For many years, in many countries around the world, people have been encouraged to think about themselves before all others. Concern is commonly placed on the self over society. Your success, your needs, your desire, your freedom.

But this thing? It isn’t about you. Coronavirus doesn’t give a shit about the fact that you want to walk around without a mask or you want to have a conversation with a small group of people in person. You are not special.

The great big question mark sitting over this whole pandemic is that any one of us could be — or become — a carrier at any time. It only takes a short, in-person encounter to knock down this house of cards.

As cities and countries put tighter coronavirus restrictions in place, I can’t help but notice how many people take these restrictions as a personal attack: I can’t ride my bike where I want. I can’t order food from my favorite restaurant. I have to work from home even though I don’t want to. I shouldn’t have to teach my kids since school was cancelled. I don’t want to wear a mask because it fogs up my glasses.

All of these things suck. But this isn’t about you

Yes, this sucks. It is inconvenient, boring, uncomfortable, and scary. It’s not fun. It’s not ideal. It straight-up sucks, every single way you slice it.

But, for just this once, we really need to step back and look at the bigger picture here. This is about us. All of us. Us as a group, as a single entity. Not about us, several individuals standing around with solitary opinions and feelings about whether we think masks and rules impede on our personal freedoms.

Please, I implore you. Please put your personal opinions and feelings to the side and do what we all need you to do right now. You can go back to being selfish later.

But, for now, can we all please just get on board and do this thing together? Let’s do this one single thing now so that sooner rather than later we can socialize in person, ride our bikes where we want, take our masks off, choose our own produce at the grocery store, work from anywhere other than home, book a flight to anywhere in the world, and step outside without feeling the weight of COVID-19 sit on our shoulders.

About this photo:

When Jared Leto came out of a desert meditation after 12 days and learned about COVID-19 for the first time, people were shocked. I was not. Several years ago, I spent a week rafting down the Colorado River. We spent our days floating through the canyon and scrambling up side paths from the canyon floor. At night, we pitched our tents on the beach and slept beneath the darkest skies. I didn’t even take my smartphone on the trip, and I didn’t miss it one tiny bit.

Read more Thoughts on Lockdown:

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