health, mental health, wellbeing

Masked Choices

Masks. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Who cares?

We’re in the middle of a pandemic. Has anybody realised that? The world is still in madness, especially here in the UK. Nobody seems to really know whether they should stay in but go out, go out but stay in; keep a distance of two metres unless you can keep a distance of one metre in which case try to keep two; wear a mask but don’t wear a mask unless you have to wear a mask in which case, don’t. You still can’t hug, although you can if you don’t know the person, and as long as you don’t live with somebody you can meet up with them in a large group but if they’re family, keep them at arms length. In all honesty, many people probably used to try this last one at the best of times anyway and still will.

It’s strange that I can meet up with a group of no more than six people and that’s only just acceptable, yet I’m free to work in a school, coming into very close contact with twenty children, cross bubbles several times, and much more besides. As youth work is an essential service, I also cross bubbles there. For me, the only sense of ‘protection’ against the virus is to wear my mask. Admittedly there are various reports on the pros and cons of masks, but my decision is to wear one.

Here’s the key to today’s blog though. Whether you decide to wear one or not is your choice. Whether I decide to wear one or not is my choice. As with everything in life, choices have consequences. Who’s right in this mask debate? Probably both of us in all honesty the way we receive conflicting information, but let’s make one thing clear. If I decide to wear a mask and you don’t, that is a choice and nobody, and I mean nobody (unless underwritten by law), should be forcing you otherwise. Some people aren’t wearing them because they have a medical exemption. Fine.

Yet, every week I meet with one of my bubbles (and I’m the only one who wears a mask in that bubble) and we get along, however, I am reminded weekly by one of them the reasons I shouldn’t wear a mask. I’m sure I’m not the only one encountering this situation.

Let me make this point clear again for anybody who doesn’t understand. We have choices. I choose to wear a mask as I am comfortable with it (OK, maybe the mask isn’t always comfortable but you get my point). You decide to not wear a mask because you believe they are ineffective. Fine.

Incessant forcing of one’s individualistic views on to others does nothing for morale and as a result, my choice may soon be whether I continue to meet that bubble because actually I choose to prioritise my mental health above all else. If I don’t meet that bubble, the activity that we partake in falls apart.

We’re all trying to keep our heads above water. We don’t need others trying to drown us. In a world where we started to pull together, let’s not now start dividing over a piece of material.

As I said, who’s right? Who’s wrong? Who cares? I’d rather people wear masks if they can (and wear them properly) but I’m not about to argue the toss. You do your thing, I’ll do mine, and let’s all go about our business. It’s surely better that we take the opportunities of coming together than finding reasons to force ourselves apart.

(Image by Anastasia Gepp from Pixabay)

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