DINOSAURS, CHAOS & CORONAVIRUS
Flash back a few months and I never would have guessed we would be in the situation we are in today. No school, no work, no public gatherings. My business has really taken a hit by all this but on the flip side, it has given me time and time is something I always wish I had more of!
During this period of isolation, I have been able to spend countless hours with my daughter, go for walks with the family, watch television series like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and The Dark Side of Wrestling, and more recently just started watching some crazy show about a guy who calls himself Joe Exotic and has 200+ big cats on his property. And here I thought I was a cat guy!
Anyhow, I also been reading a lot. One book that I recently dove into was Jurassic Park. Typically, I am not one to read fiction but needed a break from some of the heavy reading material that I have been getting myself into. This book was incredible and had me hooked from the start! There are three things from this book that really grabbed my attention that I will discuss below.
In this book, there is a character that goes by the name of Ian Malcolm (In the movie, he is portrayed by the actor Jeff Goldblum). Malcolm is a mathematician who, from the initial planning stages, doubted the possibility of something like Jurassic Park ever being able to work. The owner/mastermind of the park invited him to tour the facility prior to opening and prove him, along with his Chaos Theory, to be completely wrong. Not to spoil the fun for everyone but as it turns out, that is not how things played out!
Now on to chaos theory. In the book, Malcolm uses chaos theory to explain why the park will not work. He states that complex systems can’t be controlled and nature can’t be imitated. Applied to his situation, we cannot put animals in a park and control their every move. We can’t control how they breed. We can’t control nature. We can try and do our best, but in the end, nature is going to win out. As Ian Malcolm states, “this planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale”.
Applied to our current situation, the laws of nature are currently at play. There is a virus spreading in our community, in our country, and throughout the world. We can only control so much. We can wash our hands, put on a mask, stay at home, follow social distancing guidelines, sanitize and clean everything, and the list goes on, but yet, the virus is still spreading. Nature is going to continue to do its thing. That being said, it doesn't mean we should not do whatever we can to discourage the spread of this virus. Afterall, we, as humans, are a part of nature and need to impact our environment in the most positive way possible!
On to the next point...
“Linearity is an artificial way of viewing the world. Real life isn’t a series of interconnected events occurring one after another like beads strung on a necklace. Life is actually a series of encounters in which one event may change those that follow in a wholly unpredictable, even devastating way” -- Ian Malcolm
There are those that believe that if something goes one way the first time, it should and will go that way every time. Think about a drop of water hitting your hand. After the water hits your hand, that water will roll off to one side and hit the floor. If you were to repeat that water drop hundreds of times from the exact same spot, I can almost guarantee that the water will not roll off onto the floor in the same exact way as that first drop. The water amount, the drop height of the drop, the conditions of the hand, seem to be constant but they are not. It is the butterfly effect: one small change in one system can have a large effect on the greater system.
Applied to life under quarantine, we can look at ourselves as one of those drops of water. For some of us, we may be able to go to work, be out in public, not follow any of the guidelines and never get sick. For others, we may follow all the rules and still end up catching something. I think back to a few months ago when I came down with flu-like symptoms. After a late night hospital visit for my daughter that resulted in 2 hours of sleep for me, I drove 5+ hours to Boston the following day. I was drained and fell asleep almost immediately upon arriving. The next day I sat in a conference room for 8 hours and the next day, I drove home. I was feeling rundown and knew I needed some rest. The stress from my daughter being sick, the lack of sleep, the commute, all left me ripe for an illness. The following night I woke up freezing with my teeth chattering and wondering what in the world did I come down with.
The circumstances that occur each day matter. You can’t assume that something that worked for you before will work again. You can’t assume that what worked for others (in this country or others) will work for you. If I would have gotten a full night's rest and hadn’t traveled to Boston, maybe my immune system would have been a bit stronger and not fell victim to that illness. But that is not what happened. I was tired, stressed, and worn out. The result was a fever for a few days and it took weeks to finally feel like I had my strength back.
Learn from me on this one. Now is not a great time to get sick and in need of medical care. Do everything you can to get adequate rest, mitigate stress to the best of your ability, read a book, get some exercise in, and take every precaution necessary to avoid being exposed to illness.
“A day is like a whole life. You start out doing one thing, but end up doing something else, plan to run an errand, but never get there… And at the end of your life, your whole existence has that same haphazard quality, too. Your whole life has the same shape as a single day” -- Ian Malcolm
Working from home during this time has been an eye-opening experience. For one, it is hard to find some time to get work done when you have a two year old. The time passes and before you realize it, you got absolutely nothing done for that day. It reminds me of the movie Groundhog Day. That pattern can continue over the days, weeks, months, and years. Before you know it, you are in your thirties, forties, or fifties and wondering what the heck happened to your life? So, take the time that you have right now at home to do what is important. Spend time with your family. Be optimistic and when this thing passes, be ready to take on the world!
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