Adapting to life during a pandemic has been difficult for everyone, our community included. Yet for many, the Governor’s July 1st order lifting the state of emergency, and with it all mask mandates and social distancing restrictions, has felt abrupt, and to some, even premature. Some of us are still very much in “bunker down” mode, while others of us are getting back to life largely as it was before COVID-19. The good news is that the majority of our citizens have been vaccinated and death rates have plummeted. That said, highly contagious strains are now with us, many who are eligible to be vaccinated have not been, and younger children are still not eligible. IN addition, some of us are just 

more risk aversive than others. As a result, what we want to do for ourselves and our families, and what we wish others would do around us varies. And the gap between what people want can cause tensions and even bad feelings. We only have to look at NextDoor for examples of this. 

When feeling unsure or unsafe about a situation, it can be beneficial to remind ourselves that we can only be in charge of our own behaviors and our own safety choices.  While it would be nice to assume that everyone without a mask is vaccinated, we know that is not the case. We will need to make our choices with that reality in mind and remember that in order to have harmonious neighborly relations, we need to resist the temptation to be judgy or to police each other and instead respect our neighbors decisions, go with grace, and choose to be kind. We will get through this . . . together.

Originally posted in The Lakelands Leader in July 2021.