A few years ago, I worked in the scullery of a kitchen near downtown Kitchener. My time was filled with dirty dishes, hot equipment, lots of heavy lifting and sweat. It was hard work, but I enjoyed it.
What I didn’t enjoy, at all, was the cleanup afterwards. The floor had to be swabbed, mats washed, stuff put away and equipment cleaned so that I could see my reflection in the gleaming stainless steel.
For the first couple of weeks on the job, I grumbled and complained to myself about the inequity of my situation. All of the busboys and waiters were either gone for the day or relaxing over a cup of coffee and I had to slave away in the hot scullery all by myself. Those 45 minutes seems an eternity as poor me thoughts came one after another.
One day, I realized that there must be a better, healthier way for me to look at it. I started thinking about the person who would be coming in to work in the scullery the next morning. Their day would start with a clean work space with everything sparkling and easy to find. It’s great to start your day with a clean slate.
Once this new perspective was firmly set in my mind, the cleanup duty that had been such a problem for me became a joy. I wasn’t doing it because I had to. I was doing it because I wanted to leave work knowing that I was helping make others happy. I even imagined the smile on my co-worker’s face when he/she came in to work the next day.
I did the same thing when it came to wearing a mask.
I know what a pain it is to have to mask up and mask off time and again, day after day. It’s a chore. It’s an inconvenience and as I hear so often from people in the States, it’s an assault on our individual freedoms. As New Hampshire’s coat of arms says, “live free or die.”
But wearing a mask isn’t about you, or your freedoms. It’s about protecting others and keeping them safe. For all I know, I have the virus and am asymptomatic (I don’t get tested every day). I don’t want to make others sick or indeed hasten their death, so for me, wearing a mask is an unselfish act of human kindness.
Shifting your perspective just a bit, away from yourself, makes wearing a mask something you want to do rather than being an onerous task that is mandated by some amorphous government. It’s a simple thing, but it works for me.
Anyway, these are my thoughts and I could be wrong. Hope you have a great week.