I know that many of us have found the Government’s guidelines to be confusing at times. Either that, or it’s felt as if the Government has been yo-yoing between various options, which has caused confusion about what we should and shouldn’t do. As a result, some people have decided to create their own rules, some have lost faith and are ignoring all of the guidance, others have started living like they did before the pandemic struck and there are those who fit into some other category.
The need for consistency and clarity
I am the type of person who thrives when things are clear and consistent. On a daily basis, there are so many things to think about, therefore clarity and consistency brings about a sense of relief for me. It reduces some of the noise, it means I have to think or wonder less and it encourages me to accept things, so in this case, whether I like the guidelines or not, I’ll follow them. Another reason that I place a high value on following rules and guidance is because, if we all pick and choose the rules that suit us, the world would be in chaos.
All that said, the Government’s guidelines created an absence of clarity, so I decided to stop watching the news and create some rules of my own. Common sense stuff, with the intention of keeping me and mine safe.
As a couple we decided the following:
- we wouldn’t go inside anyone’s home
- we wouldn’t bring anyone into our home
- we wouldn’t meet with multiple households (socialise indoors in groups of more than two households (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household) – this includes when dining out or going to the pub)
- if we met someone from one household and were then going to meet someone from another, we would make sure there’s a gap of 7 days between the two dates
- we wouldn’t share a car with someone outside of our household
- we would avoid going shopping where possible
- if we needed to go to a shop of some sort, we would wear a mask
- if we went out to eat, we would ask the staff how they are managing the cleaning ie are they spraying and wiping tables and chairs
- if we went out to eat, we would try and eat outside and if this wasn’t possible, we would only eat inside if there was social distancing between tables
So much to think about
I’m sure there’s more than I’ve listed above but I stopped because I found myself thinking hard and frowning because of it!
We soon realised that we knew people who were gallivanting all over the place, they weren’t wearing masks and they weren’t socially distancing. We decided that if we met those people, we’d only do so outdoors and we’d ensure that we kept our distance.
So what’s bothering me?
If you remember, I said I liked clarity and consistency. For this reason, the following examples have bothered me. I’m not angry with those people. I’m not judging them for being inconsistent because I know that I have been too. It’s more that it’s confusing me about how to be around others and about how to decide who to hang out with.
The following names are fictional.
- Lucy strongly told us all to socially distant ourselves when we met but she was hugging people who weren’t in her household or bubble
- Fred keeps complaining about people not taking the virus seriously and not following the rules but he’s gallivanting everywhere and mixing with multiple households on a daily basis
- Heena doesn’t like it when customers aren’t wearing masks in the supermarket but she didn’t wear one when she went to the petrol station
- Dipesh said he would give his uncle, who’s been isolating, a lift but he didn’t maintain 1m between him and others when he went out a few days ago, therefore potentially putting his uncle at risk
- Sonia keeps telling everyone that she’s only hanging out with people who are safe but she has no idea what they’re all up to
- Ramesh is a surgeon and he’s telling everyone that we need to be safe to protect those who are vulnerable but he finished work and went to stay with his girlfriend who is shielding, without isolating for 7 days beforehand
- Nathan says that he loves his parents and is doing everything for them so that they don’t have to leave home and be exposed to anything but he went to a party with people from over 30 households who weren’t socially distancing and then met his parents the next day
- Ron keeps telling everyone to be safe, to avoid meeting people indoors, to keep distance etc but he met his cousins for dinner and although there was distance between the table where they sat and other occupied tables, he and his cousins were from 3 different households and they were seated inside
Acceptance instead of judgement
The last few months has reminded me about how much I judge, sometimes without even realising it! I have no right to judge anyone who’s not following the rules because I’m not alert enough to abide by them all the time and there could be a multitude of reasons for they’re not following them!
I guess the main lesson for me is acceptance.
Acceptance that none of us will be as alert as we would like to be all the time.
Acceptance that we all have different ideas and interpretations of what puts us at risk and what’s safe.
Acceptance that when I hear someone say anything, it’s their version of the truth, which will differ from what someone else may think or experience, so I mustn’t take things literally.
Acceptance that there are many shades of grey and covid-19 has helped me see this better.