I didn’t realize how social I really was until the order was passed down by California’s state Governor to stay home. Stay home? I didn’t remember two consecutive days in my entire life, except for the times I was really sick when I stayed inside of a building. I was always outside, either running, driving, or hiking. When I got bored, I went outdoors until the day that I couldn’t.
Since 2012, I went hiking before every significant decision in life. I looked to nature for therapy. I found church on the trail, and I met and connected with so many amazing people while trying to climb to the top of mountains. I brought dozens of my favorite people out to the middle of nowhere to scare them with long-winded ghost stories by stoked fires that were made by my hand. Heck, I took that campfire safety quiz so many times that I memorized every version of the few questions included on the test word-for-word. I got a little little stir-crazy this week, and instead of finding a night hike or cranking it up to beast mode in the gym—I stayed home.
We know that right now, more than ever, we need to be smart and listen to the science to save lives. We’ve all learned from a young age what germs and sickness is and how it spreads. We’ve also learned from living that, yes, anyone can get sick, but that there are also practices embedded in our heads from when we were toddlers that can help prevent your exposure. Washing hands, socially distancing, and staying inside as much as possible is the right thing to do, which is why I agree with and respect the decision for state and local authorities to close our popular hiking trails and beaches. We can still take walks and run nearby for our physical and mental health, but crowding together in public places should really be avoided right now.
The world feels as though it has gotten flipped upside down for all of us. There’s fear that you have for yourself and loved ones, uncertainty about the near future, and worry about everything else. However, learning how to bend and maneuver through these seemingly impossible obstacles together right now can keep us moving forward. We may not be able to reach out and touch loved ones right now, but there are so many other ways to connect, check on each other, and continue being social. I’ve set up an environment of endless video and audio conferencing calls to keep me focused on tackling projects, allow me to be my (apparently) social self, and keep me sane. I encourage you to use this time to connect with others, to create,and tackle projects, or finally get some rest if you can. Tell someone you care, thank a health care worker for remaining steadfast on the frontline, and stay healthy and safe.