Lessons in Lockdown #3: We Can Create Our Own Reality

Some of the best life lessons and ideas come from the imagination.

By Dulce Zamora

Friday, April 17, 2020 — I discovered masked characters in my daughters’ LEGO town. The town sign reads:

COVID-19 measures
1 m apart
Wear masks
Fine for disobedience: $10,000
79 cases total
32 recovered
0 deaths

I asked the girls if this was a dystopian world or a utopian one. They said the latter. They said this place is winning the war against coronavirus.

Hope and faith are so important, especially now when global cases of COVID-19 keep climbing. In Singapore, where we live as American expats, we’ve seen a surge in coronavirus cases in the last few weeks. As of this writing, the Southeast Asian city-state has 4,427 cases and 10 deaths. The country was once lauded for its effective management of the pandemic. However, imported cases began a second wave of infections in the local community, which quickly grew into a tidal wave. The virus has infiltrated foreign worker dormitories, where tens of thousands of people live in close quarters with shared facilities. Cases from these dorms have made up 60% of Singapore’s caseload. Government and military personnel have worked together to boost medical support and hygiene practices in these buildings, and to relocate workers living in less-than-ideal situations.

At the same time, Singapore bolstered other safety measures, including mask wearing. Officials went from encouraging people to wear masks only when sick to ordering everyone to wear them outside of the house. The exceptions are toddlers under 2 years old, and those engaged in strenuous exercise. The penalty for failing to wear a mask: S$300 for first offenders, and higher fines and possible prosecution for repeat offenders.

The Good News

Often we watch the news and focus only on the bad stuff. There’s tons of good stuff out there, too.

  • Billions of people around the world are on the same team — collectively grieving normalcy and remaining at home to save lives.
  • Governments are seeking better living situations for migrant workers and the homeless.
  • People are stepping up in the absence of real leadership in their communities.
  • Regional leaders are banding together to strengthen their part of the world.
  • Volunteers are bagging groceries for the needy, and providing food for essential workers.
  • We are finally recognizing heroes like health care workers, emergency crews, teachers, grocery store workers, food deliverers, transportation drivers, and so on.

I’m sure we’ve seen other acts of leadership and kindness in our communities. We also recognize that more could be done. The reality is, we all have a role in this global team. We can do our best even when people around us aren’t doing it. We don’t need to wait for politicians to issue good rules, for journalists to deliver good news, and for the world to be normal again. We can give ourselves permission to do good things, even when things seem bad.

Singapore only started issuing fines for failing to wear masks this week. My daughters have had masks on their LEGO characters for a couple of weeks now. Maybe they were on to something. Maybe, in their town, they recognized that more was needed to win the war against coronavirus.

Perhaps we can also figure out what is needed in our communities. There is not a lot we can control, so it may seem like a daunting task to make a difference. However, there is a lot of suffering right now. There are people who have lost loved ones, senior citizens who are isolated and lonely, adults and children who find online learning a challenge, people who have lost their jobs, family-owned businesses that are at the brink of bankruptcy, frontline workers who don’t have the energy to get groceries and cook, and so on. We can figure out our own way to help. We can create our own good news.

Besides, the life you enhance may be your own. There is a large body of scientific research that shows helping others has tremendous health benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, volunteering decreases the risk of depression, gives a sense of purpose, teaches valuable skills, helps people live longer, supports a healthy mind and body, reduces stress, and helps foster new relationships.

At a loss for how you can make a difference? I quickly Google-searched “Ways to help in coronavirus time” and found a ton of ideas. I’m sure each community has its unique needs as well.

A utopian society may be the stuff of fantasy, but great ideas often originate from imagination. What if only one percent of the people on Earth did something good? With a world population of nearly 8 billion, that’s about 80 million people making a difference. That’s 80 million realities shaped by something positive. In a world rocked by uncertainty, perhaps this is the kind of outcome we would all definitely like to see.

© 2020 Windswept Wildflower

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