Charla Huber: No room for complacency in our changing world

It seems that each week our world is changing and as these changes occur I feel like we as society are entering additional phases of uncertainty.

It’s mind-blowing to me that our society has made such huge shifts, when other aspects of our lives are standing still. Each week, I file my column a few days before it runs, and for the past few weeks I find myself wondering what big event is going to occur between the day I submit my column and the day it is published.

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I hear of events that make me happy, some make me disappointed and others that make me scared. Major events and movements are occurring all while we live in a world of uncertainty due to COVID-19.

Living on Vancouver Island we have had many weeks with few or no cases of COVID-19 and I am incredibly grateful for this. Each province, territory and country is keeping people up to date on their current statistics, and we need to remember that each statistic is someone who has friends and family. Even with low rates here, many people know someone who has been personally affected.

I was speaking with my stepmother in Utah who told me they are living in a hotspot for the virus right now. She mentioned the virus has been spreading through some factories. A friend of theirs died due to COVID-19. He was only 56.

I am grateful to live here and appreciate the low-COVID risk that we are blessed to live with.

I also know that we can’t be complacent or our low-risk might rise.

When I was drafting an office reopening plan, I had read many documents stating that once things get to a state that remind us of normalcy, people are more likely to be complacent. It’s human nature to get complacent, but it’s something we need to remind ourselves of. Maybe similar to good posture, because it sure is easier to relax and slouch sometimes, but it’s not good for longevity.

With everything that is going on in our world right now, there are many different aspects where complacency could be dangerous. We are being faced with big issues right now that are affecting our health, values, and communities.

When faced with these big issues we need to remember that the only thing we can truly control is ourselves. If we want to see change in our world or how other people are treated it needs to start with us. Sometimes that means we need to acknowledge that we could each individually do better. We also need to admit that, sometimes, we are part of the problem. Both are not easy to do.

It’s easy to look at a situation or an issue with a scope that seems far larger than all of us and question what impact we can really have. It’s a dangerous place to go, because it means either you have given up or you are waiting for someone else to solve the problem.

Maybe it’s the optimist in me that wants to truly believe that one person can make a difference. Even a small, minuscule difference, is still a difference. If we work as individuals toward a goal collectively the impact will be greater.

I think kindness is a great place to start, and that means kindness to everyone. Everyone can benefit from the kindness of others.

We also all have moments when we are less than kind, and it doesn’t mean we’ve failed, but it’s good to acknowledge and apologize.

If the issues that are presenting themselves are too large and daunting to process, start small.

I know the impact of COVID-19 has been tough on many people. Some people have been affected far greater than others. This isn’t a time to try and determine who had it harder, or discrediting people’s experiences.

Quite often, people struggle silently and if they hear other people’s struggle being discredited, they might be less likely to seek help or support.

As Dr. Bonnie Henry says, now is a time to be kind, and we should be kind to everyone regardless of our differences.

Maybe it’s a good time to start embracing, acknowledging and celebrating our differences.

charla@makola.bc.ca

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