Dr. Kathleen Allen asked me to write a second blog from just ten minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. As I wrote in my first piece, seven Bay Area counties were the first in the country to shelter in place beginning March 15th. As I write this new post on June 24th, we have completed 14 weeks of shelter in place, with the goal to flatten the curve, support front line health workers and keep ourselves and our families healthy. While COVID-19 hospitalizations are rising again in other parts of our state, medical professionals in Northern California report that in the area I live we are meeting our goals as part of a 4-stage plan. Most counties have been approved for advanced reopening (Stage 2) though some are being monitored due to cases surging again. We’re continuing to abide by what is now the law requiring masks, and of course we’re following guidelines for social distancing when venturing outside and into places of business.
In my previous blog it was helpful to outline some of the lessons learned from the first few weeks of sheltering in place. Here I’d like to summarize even more lessons learned as our situation progresses in my part of the country. Once again, let me break it down by weeks – perhaps my musings will resonate with you and your own personal experiences.
Found and embraced new routines while maintaining a daily run/yoga regimen which helped greatly to calm my mind and body.
Decided to segment my day into three-hour segments, and include some daily themes:
- Wake up and work out.
- Personal growth.
As part of this new schedule I focused heavily on ways to rest and rejuvenate, building things like reading and relaxing into my daily and weekly schedule. I also remained committed to staying informed. The weekly Town Hall for Northern California continued to provide information from county doctors, provided updates on the numbers, hospital capacity and details on the plan to flatten the curve and re open safely.
Week 10 – Memorial Day
Early morning call that no one wants to get. My daughter called with a sore throat and difficulty breathing. Her girlfriend took her to the emergency room, and I drove to the hospital. My first observation was the feeling of isolation from not being able to go into the hospital. I sat in the parking lot, only able to communicate by cell phone (as were my daughter and her girlfriend) to stay on top of what was happening. Instead of practicing denial, I chose instead to be fully present. I let the data guide us, and placed my full trust in the doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers. After 2 ½ hours my daughter left the hospital with a diagnosis of possible strep. After receiving medication and resting two days, she was back to normal. I felt an enormous sense of relief as I drove south on 101 that day. It was a stark reminder to focus on the most essential things like family, health, and gratitude.
Week 10 – Continued
The George Floyd incident and video. Worldwide Black Lives Matter protests erupted as the parallel pandemic of Systemic Racism took center stage. It was clear to me then and continues to be clear now that the need for fundamental change is in our collective and individual hands. History is calling and it is time to stand up and be counted. I was determined to become more educated, listen harder, and find my way to contribute.
This blog is one of the ways I have chosen to contribute. For all of us, it is time to protest and participate wearing masks, staying safe and following public health guidelines. I believe there is no other choice. As baby boomers, we consider ourselves leaders and for that reason we can no longer sit on our past antiwar protests. It’s time to HIT REFRESH. As we do this, we can pass down our experiences to the brave Generation Z and Millennials who will create a “new” Earth by partnering with Black Lives Matters, global warming activists, LBGQT, Dreamers and Gen X.
I began the Whites Against Racism weekly call to share each week based on three tenets:
- One thing you did last week to fight systemic racism.
- One thing you will do this week to fight systemic racism.
- One key lesson you learned from the previous week.
These questions will likely be uncomfortable, challenging and require commitment and hard work. Simply asked – Are you with me?
To summarize, the stakes have never been higher as the original sin of slavery comes home to roost. It’s time to stand and be counted – and participate every single day…yes every single day even if it’s only for a minute, or five. Hopefully you can commit to making it longer. Remember our Heroes on the front lines who will live in our hearts and minds forever. Our collective will to fight systemic racism will grow in our DNA. The question remains what each of us will choose. As for me, it’s Count Me In with gratitude and love!
Dave, World Traveler, Poet, Actor, Taxi-Driver…Blogger