COVID has struck fear in the hearts of young and old and has put new element of risk in everyday life. I took a questionnaire based on age health etc and I have 8% or 1 in 12 probability of getting it and below 1% chance I could die from it. I fiddled with some of the answers and could not skew it all that much. C’est la vie.
I have been thinking about how much this has changed our life. Kathy and I were going to take a road try this summer to visit friends in Michigan, upstate New York, DC and South Carolina. Nada! Ain’t gonna happen. We were going to fly or drive to Colorado to see the kids and grandkids. Another goose egg. What was holding us back? Should we take the risk? Should we ask others to do the same?
I have really got to thinking about this thing called risk. Webster says it is exposing someone to danger, harm or loss. I think that is a little too negative for my liking. I took a risk in marrying my wife or more probably she took a much larger risk in marrying me. But was there the element of injury? I hope not.
You go to a casino. You have the ability to limit your risk by how much you bet and what are the best odds in a particular game of chance. You play in the stock market and try to increase your chances of success by doing your research. You buy a house or you choose a career. I guess if you want to do something in life, you have to take chances.
Our society today serves both ends of the spectrum. You have helicopter moms and dads that want to orchestrate every baby step to reduce any perceived harm and of course maximize results. We have spent gazillions making, cars, planes, cribs, Big Wheels and life in general foolproof. There are warning stickers everywhere. Guard rails, seat belts, shields, et alia. All in the interest of keeping us safe but are we taking all the enjoyment out of life? Good question.
On the other side of our ethos are the crazy people. They have gone to new heights to get their thrill. I recently saw a guy jump out of an airplane without a parachute and landed on this huge net. Base jumping, wing suiting and bull running will get your attention. But why do we have these opposite poles of behavior?
It seems first off that people are far more inclined to encourage others to do a risky thing before they want to do it themselves. When I jumped out of an airplane a few years back, a whole lot of people wanted to hear about the experience rather than doing it themselves. They take vicarious pleasure but could they do it themselves? It depends on a variety of factors.
In my case with the parachute thing, it was in many ways a physical but also psychological challenge to my acrophobia. When you are staring out an open door at 18,000 feet it gets intense. But in a strange way I became very much at ease. It was sort of here goes and there is no turning back. It either works or it doesn’t so enjoy the ride. And boy did I. But I also surmounted a great fear and the accomplishment made me want to do it again.
In life we have choices of all sorts. Where you go to school, a career, a spouse, where you live. I don’t know about you but every time I have done something different or taken chances there is an incredible sense of discovery and of course a fair amount of trepidation. But once you do it and pull it off so to speak, you get more confident the next time. And that leads to whole new worlds and feelings. And as many of you know that is very cool.
Life has no guarantees. Sure I could hole up in LaLa Land until the storm blows over but I could also have a heart attack or get hit by lightning too. I can buy insurance for my house, my car and even me but can I cover everything? Lastly what if this thing does not peter out but become and even greater part of our lives? What then?
We are in the midst of this ugly pandemic. We should be wary but we should not freak out. Respectful but not afraid. I have done my research and I think I understand this thing to a fair degree. The most striking part are the odds. Today we have 5.55 million cases that has resulted in 177,000 deaths. If I told you 50 million people in the US had COVID and there were only 177,000 deaths (.0035) would you feel differently? In actuality that is probably the case. So many have had it and are asymptomatic.
I have tried to limit the risk for Kathy and me and she has done the same. I play by the rules but I am also not going to become a recluse. Personally I think we can reopen carefully and sanely. I am appalled by the college beer parties but in all honesty I can’t guarantee you I would not have been in the middle of them. Neither could you. Life has to go on. There are so many ways we could see our end. That’s life. It’s a risky business but a pretty good one too. Stay safe but have a little fun.
Ted The Great
40 million persons in the United States suffer from anxiety. Yikes. This number was obtained before COVID.
Courage….strength of mind to carry on in spite of danger
Risk also means possibility, opportunity, prospect ,vulnerable