Immediately after posting the COVID-19 and Spanish Flu, a friend asked why I fly if social distancing is so important. Good question.
I decided a comprehensive answer was called for, one that illustrates how thoughtful and open-minded inquiry was used to come to my conclusions. In order of importance, here is how I choose at this time and subject to change upon acquiring new insight, information, or awareness to handle the pandemic:
- Avoid catching the virus, ie, what has caused me to contract viruses in the past? The main ways I have gotten sick in the past are going to the gym, having kids in school (particularly preschool, and I have a 4 year old), touching my face after being out in public and before washing my hands, and being in close proximity to someone that is obviously sick. I no longer do any of these things, and I wash my hands a lot. I also social distance (I will answer how flying fits into this later in the post).
- Stay healthy. This involves a lifetime of reading and experimentation, along with studying recent information. Because I have always been interested in staying healthy there are dozens of things I do, but the foundation honors my belief in body, mind, and spirit and that being healthy includes attention to all of these. I exercise daily even if most days are an hour long walk. I eat well, and I fast daily for 16 hours, do not eat processed foods, drink only wine (mostly), take supplements that I have carefully reviewed, had medical guidance about, and proved to myself work. Each day I make sure to meditate or do breathing exercises.
- Stay connected with others. Calling folks on the phone is one way but when you have children it is nice to see them. My kids range from 4 to 34 years of age and are all over the place. At first I did not want to see them for fear of catching the virus, but later decided I had to balance a healthy protocol with important family and recreational needs. It was scary, but after seeing the first kid it became easier, and then letting my daughter (who has not gone to preschool since March 2020) have friends come to play with her. Then I studied the airlines and found that Southwest recirculates all air inside the aircraft every three minutes and uses HEPA filters. Based on all of this, I decided we would fly on Southwest and visit family and friends. This has been critical in the sanity of my wife and daughter, and for me too. We remain careful when we travel, do our best to maintain distance from others, and only stay in homes or hotels where we can open windows and turn off recirculating air.
- Avoid news, social media, and trends. This is difficult and requires conscious effort. When we become confused we look for answers, some of us pick whatever is easy and convenient while others are thoughtful and careful. Some of us hold on to the opinions and beliefs we choose and others are open to new information and changing our minds. It can be very frustrating and mentally draining to get mired down in social bickering. This does not mean I am an ostrich with my head in the sand, it only means I prefer to carefully choose my news sources and social groups.