This is a post that started as an email to my list. It's from a series of reflections I wrote as coronavirus ramped up. If you enjoy it, perhaps subscribe here.
I was annoyed to hear my local triathlon club are still doing their usual long run session, albeit at a 2m spacing. Afterwards they hang out in their cars and chat through the windows. I'm tempted to ask - can they not just stay at home?
But I breathe, pause and remember that when I'm scared it's easy to cling on to self-righteous anger as a way of making myself feel better.
I'm trying to remember how complicated this situation is for all of us.
What if some need to see their friends in person in order to function? What if their marriage is falling apart and now they're going to be isolating with their partner and child in a tiny flat, so they're trying to load up on support now? What if they're just terrified of being lonely? There's strong research to suggest touch deprivation causes illness. I have loads of friends who live on their own.
A best friend of mine who did maths at Oxford and does data science professionally has spent days modelling longterm graphs and thinks social distancing as a method of controlling the peak is still unclear. He suggests if 20% of people (in addition to those essential services) broke the social distancing rule that would mean NHS workload would be high, but manageable and if everyone self-isolated we'd be stuck in this situation indefinitely. The impact on the economy might end up killing more people.
He's frustrated. So we disagree. He thinks social distancing won’t make a difference. I think it does, and we’re just buying time to find a treatment. For what it's worth, he's staying inside out of respect for others, me mainly.
There aren't any easy answers, we're all making it up as we go along. But being furious with others is harmful. First to me and my own mental health. Then to my ability to actually influence others to reconsider their decisions and provide more care. We all need to work together.
State your boundaries have hard conversations. But keep being kind, remember we all have our own perspectives and we need each other,