A few weeks ago, with only a couple of days touchdown on Canadian soil, I was back in the skies, saying goodbyes. There was a mélange of family milestones, train-the-trainer workshops with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan, and of course, vacation – a little actual time away. Before this, the cadence of the past few months had been atypical, but up my alley: a jet setting volley. My attitude to altitude was most definitely, ‘Beam me up, Scotty!’
What happens when the routine of reality suddenly seems less certain?
I see scattered masks in the faces of people snaking around me. How we all respond to circumstance varies – different drives, thresholds, and priorities. But perhaps, that too is fluid. In the context of current COVID-19 events, it is interesting to reflect on our day-to-day: how so many dream to escape, while others deeply desire syndicated sequence. Regardless of which camp we sit in, there are times in which things shift. For the many who think not of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, this might be the moment for a robust re-examination.
After all, aren’t moments all we have? I remember times when watching Smurfs with my dad was better than sliced bread, when going to No Frills for clam chowder was a total treat, and when having a reliable supply of toilet paper in the refugee camp outhouses was a game-changer. Where once we might have focused on those who struggle to have running water and accessible health care, now hand sanitizer and a coordinated systematic response are prime-time news everywhere. How suddenly things change! And just like that, usual becomes the new dream. Where once, we may have wistfully wanted to change our photocopied ways and days, the future’s fuzziness makes routine seem like a ruby, glistening with a preciousness that we might not have fully examined or even seen.
How many times has humanity had overt opportunity to align and ascend? Being back at work as a family doctor, I see clearly. Between now and the normative now, there’ll be seconds and situations that’ll offer us silver linings: opportunities to inquire about one another, introspect about what matters most, interact in novel ways, and be unprecedentedly interdependent. The waters our world will need to navigate are ones from which many stories will originate.
Until we feel the preciousness of routine return to our homes and hearts, let’s take turns actively being on the lookout: Where can I stand taller? Surely, ‘ourstory’ in the face of contagion can be that of spreading contactless comfort and unity, of giving help and hope, and of being Love and Light for our human tribe.
May we shine as bright as the diamonds we are – and may we all be safe and sound.
Photo by Dr. Ashnoor Nagji