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Happy May Day!  Celebrating this day with ritualistic festivals has been a tradition that goes back to medieval times to commemorate the return of spring. 

Ancient Greeks and Romans held such festivals.  Dancing around the Maypole, the collection of wildflowers and green branches, people may have intended to ensure the fertility of their crops, their livestock and themselves.  Now more than ever, as we grapple with the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic, we must find a way to move forward and begin making plans for our future.

It’s also important to take stock of the enormous toll the pandemic has taken on friends, family, local businesses and especially the individuals who are most vulnerable – the elderly, the young, the people with weakened immune systems and even some who were once strong and thriving but who succumbed to the disease anyway.  For those individuals and their families, my heart goes out to you in your time of loss, especially as you must find new ways to grieve in an era of social distancing.

But time marches on, and we must find a way to move forward.  While experts rush to develop a vaccine and effective treatment protocols and governments do their best to balance the need to re-open the economy with public safety, we as individuals must move forward.  This doesn’t mean we should be reckless and go back to “life as normal,” but we can use a balanced approach to move in that direction.  Celebrations of love, marriage, birthdays, anniversaries, newborns, engagements and achievement must go on.  Travel must go on.  Human interaction must go on.  We cannot progress as a species hiding at home forever. 

Just as too much hand sanitizer robs a young infant of developing a healthy immune system, too much protection from COVID-19 robs our species of the natural evolutionary capability of developing antibodies and becoming stronger through Darwinian processes that have existed on the planet since the beginning.

But common sense must be the golden rule.  At-risk individuals should continue to shelter in place, and their loved ones should avoid contact until they know it’s safe.  Social distancing, while inconvenient, should be practiced and we should respect the unique perspectives and differences that we all have as individuals.  As one of my favorite clients told me years ago, “common sense is so uncommon these days”.  We have an opportunity to turn that cliché around as we move forward.

One of the many superstitions associated with May Day was the belief that washing the face with dew on the morning of May 1 would beautify the skin.  Today we can start a new superstition.  Washing our hands and practicing common sense will beautify the soul!  Coming together doesn’t have to be scary if we use common sense!

John Henning is the Chief Client Officer at Granite Solutions Groupe. He has over 35 years of leadership experience in the financial services and technology industries, and currently oversees all client account management, professional services, marketing strategy, business development and sales operations for GSG. To stay updated on the latest market news and insights, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn.