Hoping and Coping

Happy New Year! 2021 was quite a year. But I am approaching the New Year with cautious hope. My debut novel, Silent Winter Solstice, is out and widely available. Click here: https://bonnieoldre.com/product/silent-winter-solstice for more about the book and links to buy it.

I am working on the next one in the series. It’s slow going. As you know, there have been a lot of distractions. A topic that is top of mind for many people is the Omicron variant, which is both more infectious and less serious. One way or the other, all pandemics come to an end. I hope this is the last gasp of this one. Eventually, nearly everyone will either be vaccinated or infected and, if they recover, will develop natural immunity.

A conversation with a nurse helped me put into perspective the all-too-human tendency toward magical thinking of some unvaccinated folks. “It can’t happen to me, because I’m too young, healthy, lucky or___ (fill in the blank).” It’s the same thought pattern that keeps people smoking, driving while drunk, not wearing a seatbelt, etc. Others are just plain scared of needles or doctors and will believe anything if it means they don’t have to get a shot. So there it is, either denial or fear.

Meanwhile, life goes on for those of us who accept reality. Yes, we might stay healthy if we ignore the pandemic, but the odds are better if we take precautions. Yes, there are a few cases of bad outcomes from vaccinations, but there are many, many more cases of bad outcomes from not getting vaccinated. When deciding things, I try to weigh the benefits and costs and then make the better choice. We’ve gotten vaccinated and boosted and take a few sensible precautions, such as getting our yearly flu shots. I don’t love needles, but I’ve learned to just stick out my arm and look the other way. So far, we’ve stayed healthy.

I’ve become accustomed to some Covid protocols, like wearing a mask while indoors amongst strangers. Sometimes, I even forget to take it off right away after I go outside. Of course, now that it is winter, a scarf over my nose and mouth would be normal, in any case.

To me, there are even a few pluses to Covid protocols. Masking is starting to feel okay. For one thing, there’s no need for social smiling since no one can see your expression. A nod of the head does just fine. And now we get to skip shaking hands with strangers and acquaintances in church. Between the damp and clammy hands of nervous folks, and the painful hand wringing of the over-confident ones, I’m happy to skip it.

Let’s all hope for better days ahead. Meanwhile, I’m taking a cue from the old British motto, “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

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