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Part 1 –

“If I had known I was going to live so long, I’d have taken better care of myself.” Self care has never been more important than in an unprecedented pandemic, climate change, and every other thing you can imagine. Life is a bit exhausting, no?

There is absolutely merit in taking care of yourself, and there are times when focusing on your own health is more important than worrying about others (after all, you’ve gotta be okay in order to even interact with other people). 

We have always been a nation of “exceptionalism.” We used this unique philosophy to power research and development, to innovate and create, and overall raise our standards of living. America’s pretty awesome. But our collective exceptionalism implied a common understanding: “We’re in this together.” It’s one of the things that resonated every year with the Jerry Lewis telethon.

Things have changed. And while it’s likely multifactorial, this pandemic has proven one thing: when the chips are down, we’re self-selecting more now than ever. There are times this version of egocentrism can be dangerous: viruses love reservoirs and as long as there are people walking around unvaccinated, the virus will infect, mutate, infect, mutate, ad nauseum until it burns itself out. (Note: that’s not likely to happen for a while because the virus’s original form was completely novel to humans. ‘Rona ain’t goin’ nowhere soon, y’all.)

Political tension. Pandemic tension. Racial justice tension. It all got us thinking: we’re not the exception. Just because we think we’re great, we’re not immune to hunger, death, jealousy. We’re not inoculated against prejudice, ethnocentrism, and bias. Only through careful introspection of self and social systems can we recreate and restore any semblance of a fair and just society.

“You are exceptional, but not the exception.”

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