How about that 2020? That new decade, new beginning, new… wait a minute. Well, I guess you could definitely say what we’re facing now is new.

Two things you should probably know about me, if you don’t already. I’m a professional worrier. And I am an information hound. One made journalism make sense for me. The other is probably why I’m not in it any more. You figure out which is which.

But as I sit here, I realize I miss the media that I fell in love with wanting to be a part of. The media that stated the facts, but helped keep things calm. The media that knew the line between what was truly news and what was just, well, gossip. The media that you could turn to and know you’re getting a straight answer.

I’m not here to write today that I blame the media for being where we are, because everything with COVID-19 is much more complicated that that. But what I have found, as I have pretty much become obsessed with this thing and spent hours upon hours of the last several days reading every single article I could find about it, is that when you take out the sensationalism and you get right down to just the facts… you find a calmness. You start realizing ways you can help protect yourself and your family. You start learning what to expect if you can’t protect them.

The greatest cause of fear is the unknown, in my opinion. And that’s where we are. A whole lot of unknown. And as such, there is an underlying panic that’s emerged. You see it in empty store shelves. You see it in how if anyone coughs, there’s an immediate reaction to it. You see it when people discuss the economy.

I’ve thought about very little other than this virus the last several days. If I wasn’t working or listening to a podcast, I was scouring the internet for reports. An article from two days ago? That’s already old news.

The reports from Italy especially hit me hard. I imagine my loved ones needing respirators because of this virus, and there being none to be had. That thought has devastated me and it hasn’t even happened. And the greatest probability is that it won’t.

Aren’t we as humans funny? Choosing which side of a percentage to focus. I’m obsessed with this 4% mortality rate that’s been bantered around, that I’ve totally ignored that 96% will survive in the end. We have a far greater chance of surviving than dying!

But no one is really saying that. Not really. The media, too, has focused on the mortality rate. And as a result, there’s this pervading feeling that we’re all going to die.

We’re not. But life is definitely changed.

Just today, pretty much every large event for the rest of March (many into May!) has been canceled or postponed. My husband is off the road until mid-April at best. He was supposed to roll out tonight. A concert I had tickets to got postponed. College students will now be “going to class” over the internet. The event and entertainment industries have taken hard hits. By extension so is the hospitality industry. Bills are not going to get paid. Paychecks are not going to arrive. And all anyone can do it say, “It is what it is.” And hope that maybe, just maybe, debtors will be understanding. But at the same time, you know they probably won’t be.  I mean, just look at the stock market!

So where are we with this? I don’t know. I had to laugh to myself tonight. About a week ago, I was feeling overwhelmed with a lot of things, and all I could think was, “I need a few days to just disappear for awhile. Veg out. No one needs anything from me. And I can just reset.”

Be careful what you wish for? Ha! So far my work hasn’t been canceled, though, and for that I am thankful. I also feel like maybe this will help open our eyes to things that are important. It might change a lot of peoples trajectories, both personally as well as professionally. I find hard times often end up with things better than before they got bad. The hard part is getting there.

But here is my plead. Here is my hope. That we STOP being every man for himself right now. We are barreling, as a people, in a very spooky direction. Last week I was amazed at how Nashvillians came together to support one another. To give and to lend a helping hand.

Tonight I am saddened by empty shelves and stories of people hoarding essential supplies. The only way we get through this is by helping each other. By asking yourself if you really need eight bottles of hand sanitizer. OR maybe you could leave a few for the next person. Maybe we need to realize that its by loving one another that we get through this spooky time. And maybe loving one another means being willing to stay home and not chance picking up the virus and giving it to someone else. Maybe loving one another means sharing your supplies. Maybe loving one another is giving a friend a few bucks for a meal, because their paycheck disappeared in all of this.

Whatever it is, we HAVE to find unity. We HAVE to look out for one another. And we can’t just expect someone else to do it.

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