We can’t let our guard down. Too much is at stake. We are rounding out a year with this pandemic. Everyone is exhausted.
Some people have never worried and just openly embraced getting the virus and getting it over with.
Others lock themselves away hoping they can deadbolt the germs out of their space.
To Those On The Roller Coaster Ride
Me, and a few of you, ride the roller coaster. We know we need to move forward and do life, but we are walking through the world like it is a dark alley with scary sounds and so many hidden spaces that danger can jump out and surprise us.
Then we see the light at the end of the alley and let our guard down.
I see the end. It is going to be all right.
Then a cat jumps out behind the last dumpster and scares us to death, even if he isn’t dangerous.
That is the moment you think, how could I have let my guard down? It could have been a mugger or a murderer hiding, waiting to pounce. As you walk into the crowded sidewalk, your heart still pounds wildly. The fear of, what if, and how stupid am I to have walked down the alley alone anyway.
Later that day, the feeling of dread sneaks up again, even though you are safe.
How Could I Have Let My Guard Down?
That is the path I have taken with the coronavirus.
One minute I am diligent, signs up, masks on, hands washed, and tables sprayed. I keep my distance, don’t go anywhere but work and home.
Then I forget and find myself talking at a church meeting, with masks on, but only a foot away. As more people step into the conversation, you realize you are now in a 3-foot diameter group. Masks or no masks, the fear creeps in. Later you replay all of the scenarios that you were not as careful as you should be.
How could I let my guard down?
I need to re-commit, double down on my efforts. I am heading back up the next roller coaster hill.
It’s exhausting, isn’t it.
This is the rapid cycling dialogue in my head. And then I talk to others. And they verbalize the same regret. Just because others were taking group pics at the wedding, why did I? I went to an outdoor restaurant, but people were everywhere. I was going stir crazy and decided to brave the plane, but there was absolutely no social distancing.
The constant self-flagulation, how could I let my guard down?
Regret Doesn’t Help Us Move Forward
Regret I am learning is the antithesis of sunk cost. The rule of sunk cost is to not focus on the past. The idea is to look at the go-forward plan and determine which path will provide the most positive outcome from here. From where I stand today.
Regret has no place in positive outcomes except to recognize where you went off the path so you can quickly choose the best path forward.
Regret Actually Adds To The Damage
My sister calls every few days to express regret about a situation or interaction she felt exposed. She beats herself up. When it is her, I can easily say, “what benefit is there in worrying about what already happened”. If you caught the virus, you have caught it. Beating yourself up isn’t going to help. As a matter of fact, it can hurt.
Our stress increases.
Our sleep decreases.
Comfort eating (or drinking) may be included.
All of this actually battles against our immune system and can make us more susceptible to the virus and/or complications.
Staying Vigilante Awhile Longer
Unfortunately, we have to stay vigilante for a while longer. It just is.
The best path forward, each day, is to think about what you can do today to stay healthy, keep others healthy, and do your part. Each day.
If you do forget and do something that you feel was risky, think about it long enough to determine how to keep yourself from the same situation occurring again. Then move on.
I know. I know you are still going to say, at least in your mind, “how could I have let my guard down”.
Next time, answer yourself.
Because I am human.