Today is May 12th.
There’s nothing really special about today, it’s just a typical Tuesday, one day in a blur of many more.
But it also means something else to me.
That’s what this date means to me. On March 12th, I tested for my Provisional Black Belt at my dojo. Two months ago, I participated in my test and being tired at the end of it, I said brief goodbyes and headed out because I was tired and had a long drive ahead of me. After all, I would see them all next week in our usual classes.
I was wrong.
Next week, my dojo had to close in order to be compliant with Stay at Home orders, because we had a pandemic on our hands that we had no idea how Covid-19 transmission happened or what the symptoms or ultimate outcome of infection was.
Just like that, a large part of my life was gone. And I want it back. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to flatten the curve and get as much information about this disease as the next person. And my dojo did and is doing an excellent job with videos and zoom calls and even one on one video lessons to make sure that our training isn’t interrupted during this time.
But the longer we have to stay home, the more a little bit of us dies inside. Humans are social creatures, we need other people. And studies have shown that stress and depression can lower our immune system. The longer we have to stay at home and worry about normal or when can we get our jobs again, the weaker our immune systems are getting. Even our exercise is highly limited and regulated, because our gyms and dojos are closed, as well as our parks and open spaces where we could get fresh air and sunshine. Because of this, our chances of getting sick are actually increasing drastically.
I’m not saying that we should go hog wild and disregard everything. But America needs to start opening up again and letting people start resuming our normal lives, even if it is just slowly. Otherwise, we’re going to have a pandemic of a different sorts on our hands. One of suicides from depression and the inability to pay bills or feed our children. One of deaths from domestic violence where family members cannot get away from their abusers. One of deaths from strokes and heart attacks of people too scared to go to the hospital because they know that they will be locked away from their loved ones.
I know that some of you will hate me and say that I’m just willing to let people die from Covid. That’s not the truth. Every death breaks my heart. But neither am I willing to pretend that this pandemic isn’t costing innocent lives in other ways as well.
Let’s work together to find a solution and work towards a brighter, stronger future. Let’s be the beautiful, strong country that I know we are.
We are strong together!