Choice v Risk #49
By Lesley Fuller
In my last post I wrote about choice, and how it impacts our lives as we gradually move out of lockdown.
I predicted (as have many others) that things were unlikely to get easier, and sadly that is proving to be the case. Our choices are inextricably linked with risk, and what level we are comfortable with at an individual level.
For instance, is it fair that someone with higher tolerance for risk should be forced to adapt their behaviour to mirror that of someone who has a lower risk tolerance?
Previously this would probably have been a welcome opportunity for vigorous debate, but under our “new normal” circumstances sadly there is little room for manoeuvre and “risk” has taken on a new meaning when set against the context of Covid-19.
In my circle of friends and family we are now given tantalising glimpses of family gatherings, overnight stays, inter-generational hugs, retail therapy, hospitality and leisure experiences – but these come with strings attached.
I read an excellent article in The Herald by Marianne Taylor – “We are all human guinea pigs now…but that’s just the way it has to be.” In the article she makes a valid point that the Government has to encourage people to go out, while still keeping them scared.
However she also pragmatically states that we have to navigate this new and more precarious world on our own – determining what level of risk we are comfortable with and being mindful of how this affects our family and community.
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of sorrow; it empties today of strength.”
Corrie Ten Boom
My risk status in the virus context is pre-determined by underlying health conditions, but that imposes restrictions on my wider family. Thankfully, I am now part of a bubble, and last week was able to laugh, play and have fun with my grandson and daughter.
I have read more novels in the past few months than at any time and have been getting great enjoyment from the garden. In practical terms it’s not feasible for me to wait in long queues at shops, but I am doing my bit for the economy by shopping online – and not always for essentials!
Notwithstanding my risk status, I do have a choice around how I react to current circumstances, and I aim to be positive and practical. I heard someone describe the lockdown as being like a long deep rest, and that resonates with me.
On the other hand, I realise that for those younger than me, juggling home-working and childcare and perhaps facing uncertainty around their jobs it probably feels anything but a long deep rest.
I’m also fortunate to be able to work from home, and have set up a small home office area in the conservatory. Research, reading, webinars, Zoom, mobile phone, WhatsApp messaging all combine to make engagement and communication easy, and go a long way to mitigating the lack of face-to-face contact.
I read a lovely blog by a delivery driver for one of the big supermarkets. He had previously suffered from anxiety and depression and had been unable to work for some time. Getting a job as a delivery driver had given him a renewed purpose when he realised how much his customers relied on him.
Current research and science into Covid-19 is still at an early stage, but emerging findings suggest that we may need to live alongside this virus for months, possibly years.
That is a daunting thought, which dangles between the twin strands of choice and risk. However, if we weave in patience and resilience perhaps we can create a pattern to reflect these strange new times, which will, over time, strengthen the fabric of our lives.
“The situation you live in doesn’t have to live in you.”
Stay safe, take care
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