The title of this story came from an AARP publication. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) was founded in 1958, and as of a year ago had over 40 million members. The organization publishes The Magazine (and a newspaper). There are always interviews with well-known people, like 82 years young actor Anthony Hopkins, which appeared in the December/January publication. The interview ended with, “My life is an extraordinary series of mistakes. But if I hadn’t made decisions that seemed bad at that time, who knows where I would be? I guess we are guided by some inner force”.
The magazine also has many interesting articles, such as, “Is There a Medical Cure for Loneliness?” What got my interest on this subject is the corona virus pandemic. The article starts with the sentence, “We know that older Americans are at greater risk for social isolation, which can lead to physical illness, depression and even dementia.” No wonder the majority of those who died from COVID-19 belonged to this group. Turns out that “scientists now say there are medical causes and remedies for the painful condition that affects more of us each year.”
If you read my stories regularly, you have probably noticed that they have a positive spin, then why to write about this sad subject?
My reason was inspired by a conversation I had with a very good young friend, who was concerned about my well-being, and suggested that in my age I should stay away from people until the scare is over. Yes, this is a good recommendation. People are advised to work from home (our company’s employees do), if possible. In the given circumstances this sounds as a reasonable piece of advice. It is given to save lives, but what is the cost and what are the side effects? The article states, “the impact of people living in social isolation add almost 7 billion a year to the cost of Medicare.”
There is an expression; “The surgery was successful, but the patient died.” I question if people can be socially isolated for a long period of time (and not only those of advanced age) – this goes against the nature of what human beings are. In the March 19, 2020 SF Chronicle, there was an article titled, “Remain at home amid outbreak or enjoy a walk among others?” On that day, since Max did not go to his dog-sitter, we went for a walk around Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. There were quite a few people of different ages, walking or jogging while maintaining a reasonable distance.
On Friday, while driving with Max through the Park, we saw a lot of people congregate in front of the Conservatory of Flowers, parents with children riding bicycles and young people jogging. After all, it was a warm spring evening.
P.S. The images are from my encounters with those in Golden Gate Park whom, to paraphrase Anthony Hopkins, preferred to make mistakes but keep enjoying their lives. Among them of course was Max, who has no idea of what is going on and just enjoys the walk with his “parents”. Since this story is longer than usual, I decided to add one bonus, totally five images. I hope you’ll like all of them.
P.P.S. My daughter Tamar, who edits my writings, made the following comments (below) which I would like to share with you as well. If you choose to get some fresh air and get exposed to the Sun, follow her recommendations.
Enjoy and Share with A Friend.
TAMAR’S OVERALL COMMENT
I understand you’re trying to put a positive spin on the current circumstances. And I agree, I believe it is important to maintain a positive spirit through all of this. However, while there is certainly a concern that loneliness will have an undesirable effect on people’s lives, at least they will be alive. The “Safe at Home” order is in place to LITERALLY SAVE MILLIONS OF LIVES. That is a statistical fact. Meanwhile, thanks to this being the most technologically advanced time in all of history, we can physically distance, while not being socially isolated. Thanks to FaceTime, Zoom and the old-fashioned phone, and time on our hands, we can connect with our families and friends who are across continents, and a five-minute walk away, while avoiding any contact with them, and effectively avoiding spreading or contracting the virus.
And yes, it is Spring, the skies are blue and the sun is shining, so naturally people are going to want to leave their homes to get some fresh air – which is also important! Meanwhile, there were so many people out on hikes, playing basketball and at the beach in LA last week/weekend, that the mayor closed the parks, beaches and social recreational areas, because people weren’t maintaining proper social distancing. In order to prevent the spread of the virus and avoid overwhelming hospitals, it is IMPERATIVE to keep a distance of at least 6 feet away from each other, to not touch foreign surfaces, and when that isn’t possible, to wash hands for at least 20 seconds, and disinfect all surfaces that were touched after touching the foreign surfaces. My comment to you is to make sure your message still gives the impression that this should be taken very seriously. PLEASE consider the message you are sending to your readers.