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In support of those of us who follow the pandemic safety guidelines

Like millions of people on this planet, I'm so fed up with the seemingly endless pandemic, the anxiety and worry it brings and the constant need for masks, washing hands, social distancing and staying home to save lives. As well as the daily new virus cases and numbers of those who died of the virus. It's exceedingly worrying and sad and it takes constant motivation to continue to follow the government rules and not lose hope for a better time.

One thing I'm really fed up with is those other individuals who don't follow the rules, either because they don't believe in the virus or because they simply don't care or because they don't think it can hurt them.

I'm writing this to anyone out there who has spent a year unable to visit friends or family and feeling frustrated by others who perceive them as "self righteous" for following the government guidelines - Just keep following the rules to stay safe and know that following the guidelines to keep yourself and your loved ones safe is the right thing to do and I support you in doing this as we need to work together all over the world as a united human race to end this pandemic.

I've just ended yet another friendship after expressing concern when they shared their experiences travelling internationally - my concern was received as "self righteousness" which I feel isn't fair and I'm sure there are others out in this world who have had similar experiences when expressing concern for friends and family this year.

In March this year, like millions of others, I had to adapt my work life to an online existence and though it's significantly less money than what I used to earn, it keeps me and my students safe which is the most important thing and gives me inspiration to keep going. Now everything is over Zoom and I spend 90% of my day on the computer which has resulted in Zoom fatigue that I can't escape from as well as a neck and shoulder strain that I'm still unable to ease.

Before this pandemic, I didn't know Zoom existed and had never really done any actual teaching online. But this year, everything I do is online, via Zoom. I've taught hundreds of art classes, given hundreds of art lectures, attended a few meditation events and even attended one funeral via Zoom which was pretty horrible. Over the year, I've learned about former members/students who have lost their battle with the virus and I expect I'll keep hearing about more in the next year and that's really very depressing.

This Christmas, I can't return to see my family so it'll be a Christmas via Zoom because it's safer for all of us and after what I've seen, heard and read this year, I'm happy to keep my distance if it keeps my family safe and healthy as well as all those strangers I'd have to mix with if travelling.

It's disheartening to be then accused of being "self righteous" by a now former friend, who sees my abiding by the rules, offensive, because I shared concern for him and his family, regardless of his travelling circumstances.

It's also very worrying watching lots of other friends continuing to not follow social distancing, mask wearing and hand washing rules and then feeling conflicted that if I say anything of my concern, I'll be potentially ending yet another friendship when another person doesn't like my concern. It's so difficult to watch those I care for live recklessly.

I've found it more helpful when sharing my concern by expressing that I wear a mask and social distance to protect others - that approach seems to fall kindly on others who are more likely to feel imposed upon. Beyond that, I find everyone is very defensive so it's nearly impossible to share concern for someone, no matter how delicate you try to say something. In this last year, I've had several former friends denounce their friendship with me after I tried to delicately share my concern for their well being.

I asked an old childhood friend to "please be careful and stay safe" after she posted photos in the height of the pandemic of her kids at an indoor sports event where no one was social distancing or wearing masks. We'd been friends for over twenty years but she ended our friendship in minutes. It was a shock and I'm still thinking about it months later and probably will for the rest of my life.

So with COVID-19 killing millions around the world, do you stay silent if someone you care for is being reckless or do you speak up and risk everything just to make them consider their safety and health as well as all the individuals around them?

Is speaking up to share your concern a "self righteous" act or compassion for others?

After yet another lost friend, I'm feeling very conflicted about this situation as I've tried being compassionate and each time it results in the end of a friendship but perhaps I hope that it's offered reflection to change to a safer, healthier way of life - at least until the pandemic is not such a threat.

Anyone else had similar experiences this year?

Leave a comment below or send me a message as I'd love to hear from others who may be experiencing similar struggles and how you are able to share concern without upsetting friends or family?

#LetsSupportEachOther #StayHomeToSaveLives #BeSafe

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