I recently saw New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaking on a U.S. cable news network. His state is seeing a continuing surge in coronavirus cases, but Cuomo sounded reassuring, appearing calm and speaking slowly.
The governor showed his understanding towards New Yorkers, tired of spending all day in their homes and having to deal with the novel coronavirus. He explained that the outbreak wasn't going to be over quickly, and the fight against it is "not a sprint" but "a marathon."
When I think of the word marathon, I immediately imagine long distances taking a long time to traverse and with many ups and downs. I imagine something difficult. But that must not be the only aspect to the sport.
There are so many marathon runners out there in the world because it's a sport that anyone can enjoy at their own pace with a bit of practice. Participants to marathon events can appreciate the scenery as they run and can even socialize with volunteers handing out beverages on the way. The sense of accomplishment one feels after finishing a marathon must be exceptional. It's not unusual to see elderly marathoners.
On the other hand, sprints are short and fast as far as the duration goes, but a difficult sport unless you're a professional athlete with special talent. Because competitors cannot run at their own pace, the sport has a certain age limit.
In other words, our battle against the new coronavirus might be a long one, but each of us can tackle the situation in our own ways. Having to stay at home doesn't mean we have to be sitting still. Because there is a lower chance of getting infected inside the house, we can listen to music, study another language, relax in the tub and take good care of our bodies, and do things the way we would like to do them.
Cuomo told New Yorkers that they should spend their time indoors carefully reconsidering who they truly are. He called on individuals to take the time to think about who they are as a parent, a partner, or a friend to others.
It's a difficult task, but if we can keep up with the "marathon" to protect ourselves and our family from the novel coronavirus, we might just find the answers to the questions of who we are and what we consider special to us.
Let's go through the fight together, slowly and carefully.
(Japanese original by Rika Kayama, psychiatrist)