COVID-19 is reminding us all, if we are paying attention, of our vulnerability. If you’re like me and wake up, get coffee, turn on the computer, and immediately check the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Map/Tracker, you’re well aware of how at-risk we are, at least on a rudimentary level.
But our experiences and perceptions of our vulnerability aren’t static. I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed how much this has changed for me as I’ve aged. Thus the title of this post — a warning we probably all heard from a grandparent at one time or another. And now, ironically, it’s a phrase I find myself tempted to utter often. (Some version of it, anyway.)
It’s about consequences, really.
With age, I’ve become more aware of the possible outcomes of actions. And thus, I’ve gotten more cautious about some things. Driving in snowstorms, for example…
It used to be a point of pride for me to get to work no matter what. And I would. Now, I think about the challenge of getting home at the end of the day, or the hassle of having to deal with a fender-bender or, the even more likely, pain-in-the-butt of sliding off the driveway and having to get pulled out by some kind person.
If there’s any possibility of one of those things happening, I’m likely to choose work from home. (And yes, I am SO lucky/grateful to be able to make that choice!)
Looking back with horror…
We all joke, sometimes, about riding bikes without helmets and being unbelted while careening down highways in the 1950’s and ’60’s and ’70’s. AND when I look back at things I’ve done, I can feel quite lucky to be here with mostly all my faculties and with all my limbs intact. I’m thinking of things like:
- Riding my bike, fast and unhelmeted, in and out of Philly from Havertown many mornings and evenings in the mid-1970’s. Had one person ever opened the door of a parked car while I raced by…well…it’s hard to think about.
- The way we used to drive around at night, listening to the radio and seeing how fast we could go on the back roads. (Not to mention driving home from parties when we shouldn’t have been…)
- Or sledding down hills and sliding out onto suburban streets, mostly oblivious to the dire possibilities.
- Or, yes indeed, running with sticks, and maybe even scissors sometimes!
We just didn’t think about what could happen.
Well, folks, now I do — and the world sure looks different. Holly Cornblog and I are both scared. We pray a lot.
And now we wear helmets pretty much everywhere we go!