Do The Best You Can?
Dear Nicholas, The advice to “Do the best you can” is usually reassuring to hear–means: doesn’t have to be perfect, just give it a good shot. However, when it’s important, doing my best takes on a different urgency. And here’s the problem: how do we ever know if we’ve done the best we can?
A Tricky Question
How do I know if I’ve done my best at sanitizing the driver’s seat area after I’ve been to the grocery store? I could always keep on spraying and wiping. Does the fact that at the bank drive-through the pneumatic tube sat momentarily in my lap mean I should quickly throw my jeans in the wash?
So Far, So Good
I’m happy to report that, in spite of my difficulties with obsessive-compulsive disorder, I’m doing pretty well at dealing psychologically with the viral menace. And so are those of my relatives who wrestle with the same ailment.
This apparent health is a surprise and I have a theory about how it’s possible. I think it’s the fact that everybody in the world is having to be hyper-careful, and the need for this vigilance and the behaviors involved are public knowledge. Carefulness, checking, and fear of contaminating are now a good idea; they are not wacky or furtive or suffered in isolation. Doing this stuff does not mean I’m weird.
I’ve been public about this difficulty of mine for a long time. And that has helped. For one thing, it has given me company in dealing with the problem. Now the entire world taking on a similar hyper-vigilance is definitely companionable. (I’m also hugely lucky that during lockdown weeks I can work at home. I haven’t lost a job.)
But “Do The Best You Can”?
Again I ask: how would I ever know when I’ve done my best? In so many areas of life, including sanitizing, it’s not measurably possible, at least outside of an operating room or a lab.
And for once the choices are at the life-and-death level of importance: Husband Bob, who has had heart troubles, must not get this virus.
What Is The Right Best Protection?
What I think is needed is guidelines, even if I make them up myself: spray a suspicious surface twice, no more and no less. That sounds suspiciously like a ritual: on a continuum with the guy who had to use eighteen napkins at every meal. However, a reasonable ritual is not such a bad idea.
A Reasonable Ritual
I will employ a carefully chosen guideline if I need it. So far, though, I seem to be roughly the same amount of slightly weird as everyone else.
Ever wishing you good health,
Tags: checking, dealing psychologically, done my best, done the best we can, fear of contaminating, furtive, hyper-careful, lockdown weeks, mean I'm weird, obsessive-compulsive disorder, ocd, reasonable ritual, right best protection, vigilance, virus