On a very different St. Patrick’s Day.


March 17, 2020 looks very different than March 17, 2019. A year ago, I was sharing interesting Irish facts on social media and looking forward to tipping back a few pints of Guinness in celebration of my people. Who would have believed a year later, I would be embracing sobriety and all St. Patrick’s Day celebrations would be canceled? Had someone dared predict such a thing, I would have said “That will be the day the world ends.”

Ah, but here we are, on the Eve of the day most Irish folk look forward to, having nothing to look forward to. Or do we?

My ancestors overcame a great deal of difficulties. Famine, homelessness, slavery and genocide. Yet, they rose again, strong, robust and not really all that interested in taking over the world. I’m like that. I have survived two cancer diagnoses, four drownings (almost that many divorces), financial devastation and the 9th grade. But, I’m still here, as strong as ever, with no interest in world domination.

But, now there is Covid 19. I spoke to a lady today who said she has never been so scared in her life. She is in her 90s. I have read enough history books to know that there has been some pretty scary shit in this world over the last 90 years. She has it so much better than many people. She is wealthy, and she has lots of family that insist she stay safe at home. They are at her beck and call to ensure her every whim is met. But, I get it. She is afraid of the unknown. We all are.

This situation has leveled the playing field for the world population. All the things we have chosen as our identities are no longer available to us to use as shields. Being Republican will not save us. Being Democrats will not save us. It does not matter if we are Celtics fans or Yankees fan (yes, yes, I know one is basketball, the other baseball). Vegetarian, vegan or carnivore makes no difference. Irish, English, African, American, Chinese. Black, white, brown, olive, we are all now one race, one color. We are the color of vulnerability, the race of humanity.

The only thing we can rely on is ourselves; ourselves individually and ourselves as humanity. This pandemic is scary for all of us, for different reasons. Whether it be fear for your health, fear for your finances or fear that your political party will implode; please remember: You are not your body. You are not your money. You are not your job. You are not your political affiliation. If everything to which you identify was taken away, you would still be you. I would still be me. No one is better than anyone else. We are all in this together, but each of us is responsible to and for ourselves. 

I say all the time “If I didn’t have so many other activities and responsibilities, I could really pursue my goals and dreams.” Well, now that many of my activities and responsibilities have been postponed for awhile, it is time to put my money where my mouth is.

I do not want to wake up on the other side of this knowing I had wasted the time that the Universe handed to me. This is the time to paint the picture, write the book, learn to dance, learn to cook real food, learn to grow the real food, work out, meditate, audition, take the class (online only), send the letter, adopt a pet, propose, kiss the boy (uh, maybe not right now), climb the mountain, train for the marathon, forgive and ask forgiveness. This is the time to reflect on what we want to be if or when the world returns to normal.

If it does not return to normal, just like my ancestors before me, I will be fine. We all will, if we look at this as an opportunity to explore our inner selves, listen to our hearts and grow. Let us all pledge that we will not waste this time. Instead of regretting fear filled hours and days scrolling through our news feeds or staring at a screen, let us use the time to look inside and become better versions of ourselves and create a better world.

In the words of Benjamin Franklin: “Do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made out of.”

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