Think back to your last conversation. How did it end? Most chats these days end with someone saying, ‘stay safe’, which always takes me by surprise. I don’t know why. Maybe because it’s stating the obvious. Like, obviously I am going to TRY to stay safe, I’m not reckless!
It’s the new farewell. I was used to saying goodbye with a ‘see ya later’, ‘take care’, ‘safe travels’. When anyone leaves my house I say, ‘drive carefully’, ‘be good’, ‘watch the roads’, and the list goes on. So, I’m not sure why I find ‘stay safe’ to be so jarring. My usual response is ‘you too’, but I never initiate the ‘stay safe’ send off.
I suppose overall it implies that we need to watch out for COVID and follow CDC guidelines. You know, wash your hands, wear your mask, get vaccinated, stay 6 feet away from people; but if we’re going to ‘stay safe’ shouldn’t it apply to so much more?
It’s important to me that my loved ones are safe and healthy, but is safe always the best? Is it always better to be safe than sorry or to play it safe? Being safe with your health and well-being is one thing, but what about when it comes to taking other risks? Risk taking is something this pandemic has me thinking about.
COVID is scary, risky, unpredictable, and in our face, but so are most other dangers in life. And what gets me about COVID is that individuals are literally not living because of the fear of dying from COVID. And while not living, some are dying of other causes. People have put their lives on hold for the last two years and ended up dying anyway. I don’t know the statistics; I just know that many have died of non-COVID causes while their life was on a break due to damn COVID.
So, what I’d like my response to ‘stay safe’ to be is, ‘Thank you, I won’t be reckless, and I’ll live responsibly, but I will not stay tucked away at home afraid to leave the house.” If it was guaranteed that after locking myself away for two years, I’d live a full and wonderful life, then I’d consider it. But that’s not the case. Life beyond this moment is not a promise and for some there is or was no “after COVID”. Don’t waste time in the house afraid to live, unless of course you are enjoying every minute of it. There are aspects of quarantining that I love but being afraid of EVERYTHING and not seeing the people I enjoy being around are not some of them. It’s the equivalent to not falling in love because you may get hurt or not taking a drive to see the autumn leaves because you may get in an accident.
Follow the rules of COVID in the same way you follow the rules of the road. Wear a mask when it’s recommended and follow the speed limit. Get vaccinated when it’s recommended (and if you feel it’s the right thing for your body…I’m not trying to be controversial here 😊) and wear your seatbelt, wash your hands regularly and stop at stop lights. You may still get COVID, and you may still get in a car accident.
Everything is a balancing act between safety and risk. That’s how I choose to live, safely while taking calculated risks between security and danger. I will go to the store, I will visit family, I will gather outdoors, and indoors when I feel it’s appropriate. And I may still get sick from get COVID.
Tell me this: When did you feel most safe in your life?