“Beware the Ides of March.” Having heard this many times during my life, I researched it to see where this saying originated. The word “ides” in the ancient Roman calendar relates to the middle of the month. Of course, this was a famous line from Shakespeare’s play, Julius Caesar. So many of Shakespeare’s lines have worked their way into the vernacular. This statement was made to Caesar for cautionary purposes, but as it turns out, it was futile; he was killed nonetheless. Did he not heed the warning? And, this truly happened on March 15. Interesting. Also, a coincidental note is that it is said Shakespeare wrote King Lear while quarantined during the plague. We may indeed find ourselves more creative in times of boredom and forced isolation.
So, how does this pertain to us today? A certain amount of caution is encouraged as we face the spread of the current threat of coronavirus. It is certainly a valid concern, particularly among those of us who are of the vulnerable populations – those with illnesses, compromised immune systems, and the elderly. The numbers of people who died of plagues in history is staggering. And death is a serious matter. It is important to note that not everyone who has developed this virus has died, however. Many have survived with mild symptoms. The prudent action remains to be cautious, to wash our hands thoroughly, and frequently, not touch our faces, and quarantine ourselves if we believe we have symptoms.
And we are all facing empty shelves of desired items at the grocery stores and markets. There appears to be a panic that is growing among large groups of people. Hoarding items is not helpful for the masses of people who need items that cannot be found. It is interesting to note that when tragedy or war or some horrifying event occurs it tends to bond people together in a shared common experience. But when we overbuy and take more than our fair share, we are leaving others in a state of disadvantage. This is a time to agree that we need to self-quarantine and not spread unwanted disease, but hoarding in anticipation for more than two weeks worth of goods is unnecessary at this point.
How do we navigate the alarm and tendency to panic? One way is to remain calm, to recognize that in looking at statistics we can maybe be realistic in our assessment of when to worry or have a higher level of concern. We can remind ourselves of survivors, of our resilience, and the many good things we can be grateful for. It’s a trick, no doubt, to have one foot in cautionary procedures such as social distancing and hand washing, while the other foot continues to live our lives the best way we can, enjoying life as it is meant to be lived. And remember, that for most of us…
All shall be well, in time.