I’m sitting here in Mexico in a big beautiful house we rented for six weeks. When we rented the place, we had four weeks’ worth of confirmed guests who were planning to visit here. It was going to be a great experience, spending quality time with some of our closest friends.
Then the world went crazy over swine flu.
Some friends may still have made it, except that the Mexican government recently announced they were closing all nonessential private businesses (including restaurants). Now my wife and I are in a strange town for the next month with not much to do, no visitors coming, and few ways to make new friends. What are we going to do?
We’re going to make lemonade out of this Swine Flu, so to speak, and you should too.
The “eminent pandemic” (as the W.H.O. puts it) has been a major inconvenience to millions of people. Public events are being canceled, travel plans scuttled, and parents are having to find ways to deal with their kids who are out of school.
What’s the upside of all this? What can we gain from it?
If you read this blog often, you know it’s about liberating yourself from the societal norms that pressure us to behaving like sheep. I encourage people to strive to live their ideal lives instead of living how everyone else expects them to.
Try to use the disruptions caused by the Swine Flu as reason to evaluate your life and what’s important to you. Also, consider how you are reacting to the news in comparison to society as a whole. This may offer some insight into how you let social expectations influence the way you live.
For instance, how do you value facts versus sentiment? How easily are you swayed by hype and sensational stories? What were your first thoughts when you heard of Swine Flu? How much of what you hear about it in the news do you take at face value?
What do I take away from the situation? There are both personal and societal reflections to be made.
On the personal front, the situation has reinforced that friends and social interactions are as important to us as anything. My wife and I have been crushed by the fact that we won’t be spending the time with our friends that we had so looked forward to.
On top of that, the potential closing of public places including restaurants and bars here in Mexico leaves us with little opportunity to meet new people. Luckily the Internet provides a way to talk to people (please, make a comment on this blog!), even if it is no substitute for face-to-face conversations.
On the societal front, it’s clear once again that fear is an unusually strong motivator for most of society. It’s also amazing to think about the influence that the news media has over all of us. A tiny smattering of facts has consumed so much air time and page space that we all owe it to ourselves to consider what the majority of that time and space consists of if not fact.
You may draw other conclusions, and that’s great. The Swine Flu story has become such a unique and widespread piece of public consciousness that it gives us a great opportunity to learn more about ourselves and our culture. If you want to share your thoughts, researchers would love to hear what you have to say.
Whatever you conclude, at least you are thinking about it instead of just accepting what you are told, and that’s a critical skill necessary for living an extraordinary life.
What have you learned about yourself or society from Swine Flu? Let me know in the comments!
photo by Jim Linwood