In times like this when the anxiety is high, all we can do is remind ourselves to breathe. And by this, I do not breathe the same way that you are breathing now.
When I say breathe, I mean slowly.
Pay attention to this.
Breathe in through your nose, nice and slowly. Feel the air as it moves through the nasal passages and let this fill your lungs as much as you can take.
Once your lungs hit the top of their capacity, pause for a second, and then let the air out through your mouth.

In times like this, we are living amongst a pandemic and in times when nothing is certain; literally, the entire world is unsure of what’s to come, all we can do is the next simplest thing within our control.
And that’s breathing
Will we get all learn to get well soon or will the numbers of the sick continue to grow?
Will there be an antibody?
Will the news report something different or stir more fear to gain better ratings?
Will people get the hint that this is not a scheme; this is not a drill, and no, this is not a conspiracy?
Besides, who cares where the fault goes?
The fact of the matter is people are sick. Some people are dying and some people think this is all some kind of propaganda.
So what do they do? They go out and they mingle.
They interact and then they spread a virus that quite possibly kills someone.

Happy now?

In times like this, it only makes sense to stay safe. It makes sense to follow suggestions. However, I will admit; I do find it strange that we have to remind people to wash their hands.
I mean, has this become a problem?
Apparently so.
(For whatever it’s worth, not to brag, but I’ve been washing my hands since before it was cool.)
In times like this when so much is out of our control, it pays to be mindful of the things that we can control—like our breathing.

Breathe in.
Pay attention to the coolness of the air as it moves through the opening of your nostrils. Fill your lungs to the top and then pause.
Have you done this?
Now breathe out through your mouth until your lungs are emptied.
Have you done it?
Now pause for a second and then fill your lungs back up again.
This is a great exercise to do when the anxiety machine tilts out of control.

I have seen my city go through several changes throughout my life. I have seen new buildings go up and old ones come down.
I’ve watched a building known as One Vanderbilt grow from a hole in the ground to become one of the largest structures New York City has to offer.

However, all construction is on hold for the moment. Then again, everything is on hold for the moment.
No school. No Construction. Only essential workers are to be out.
Everyone else is supposed to stay at home, which sadly; some people do not do this because they do not understand the threat is real. 

The virus is not a joke. Coronavirus, Covid-19, or whatever you want to call it; I call it sad to see that goddammit, we have been reduced to the fact that we literally have to remind people to wash their hands.
We argue and fight over what, rolls of toilet paper?
And we hoard and we argue; we bitch and we moan. Meanwhile, this could literally all improve if we all learned to work together.

Either way, none of this is within my control. I cannot stop the spread of something I cannot control. I cannot change the world.
I cannot change where this came from or why we have it or what the news will say in approximately 45 minutes.
All I can do is breathe and keep breathing.
All I can do is take care of myself because everything beyond my control is and will always be consistently beyond my control.

I have seen some crazy things in my lifetime but none crazier than this. I have seen the destruction of September 11th.
I was there when the buildings went down and saw everything from the rooftop at 54th Street.
I watched my city run in fear that day. Then I was back the next day because work was not cancelled. Life still had to live.

I walked the streets on September 12th. I noticed how strange it was the next day after an attack because every newsstand on the street was selling American Flags, which I am fine with however, there was something strange about the timing because our Flags weren’t on sale the day before.

Either way, I saw the city then and I can see the city now. We saw the biggest attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor, yet still, the streets were more crowded in Manhattan than they are now.
It’s a ghost town right now.
Hotels are closed. Businesses are closes. A co-worker of mine lost three family members within the last week to this virus.
And somehow, there are people out there that believe this is a joke. I’ve heard someone say this is a trick by the government.
I wonder if the people who’ve not been able to see the dead bodies of their loved ones at the hospital believe this way. Or, do you think they believe this is just a scam, built up by the media?

I get it though.
We have to work. At least, I do.
I am fortunate to not be the 1 in 4 Americans that are jobless now.
I am a union man and proud to be.
I am fortunate to say that I have brothers and sister, family and friends that stand beside me to A) hold me accountable for myself and B) keep me sane because I know I am not alone.

Training Program Training Program

I saw a post on social media of a nurse with a surgical mask on. she was all done up with gloves and all the protective gear one would expect a nurse to have on around infectious diseases.
The nurse is a woman, tired, with bags under her eyes and hair slightly unkempt and peeking out the side of her surgical cap. You could see the tiredness in her eyes.
Beneath her were the words, “I can’t go home because you won’t stay home.”

And I get it.
We need to go to the store. I get we need gas and food and things. Okay, that’s fine. But there are suggestions in place on how to do this.
Perhaps it would be a good idea to follow them.

I saw a picture of a Walmart parking lot yesterday. The parking lot was full. And what does this mean?
The first thing it means is more money for Walmart. This also shows their concerns for community and speaks volumes on behalf of their civic responsibility.
I can say this: One thing this doesn’t mean is the virus won’t spread slower. Sadly, people fail to realize the importance of social distancing.

Economy aside, jobs aside, and ignorance to the side, I cannot, will not and refuse to argue about this with anyone.
I’m not going to be angry either, just mindful.
Besides, why bother?
Arguing is pointless.
Arguing about things beyond my control is only wasteful at best.

Want to know what I can do?
I can breathe. And I breathe because I know this is the one thing the Coronavirus wants to stop me from doing.

Nothing is in my control except for me
Not you
Not your opinion
Just me and my breath is all I can control
So I’m breathing

I hope you are too.

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