Sep 212021

Oxford dictionary defines “essential” as absolutely necessary; extremely important. Our Canadian government seems to have their own definition which they haven’t made available yet. So I asked the hive mind of social media what they each consider essential to their mental health and general well being and, you know what, every answer was different. Every unique person needed something personal to make them happy and healthy mentally. Yet our government keeps defining, and redefining, what they feel is essential for all so let’s discuss for a moment how we are all individuals and need different things.

The musician – studied and practiced his entire life to enjoy and perfect his craft to bring enjoyment and a sense of belonging to all who listen. This same musician trusted the government in March 2020 and cancelled all his shows, finding extra time to continue crafting and existing and getting by with the money he had saved. Fast forward to September 2021, where is this musician now? Working for someone else just to pay rent or still holding onto the faith in the government and singing on a street corner, where he pitched a tent because he lost his home, hoping someone will bring him a meal?

The musician is essential

Nurses and doctors are definitely essential and underappreciated as they work to bring us back to our physical health and well-being. They work tirelessly, no one has ever said otherwise, to bring the physically sick back to a place where they can return to work, their families, their lives and bravo to those who do! Blessings to those who still have a job, run off their feet, who take extra time to sit with those who cannot be visited by family. I thank you, we have thanked you, and applaud the job you all do.

Healthcare workers are essential

A photographer who highlights the beauty and the scars, acts as a therapist, a beautician and a friend and shines the light just for a moment on someone who has felt in the dark for so long. The session goes beyond staging and lighting, it works to open the model up to new adventures, a new confidence and connects them with a new friend they didn’t realize they were missing. A photographer is essential to their own family and the world around them as they work expertly to show what was never seen before. And the model walks out a new and improved person, understanding they do have worth, beauty and value.

Photographers are essential

Libraries and their staff provide solace, peace and, yes an Internet connection. They offer free education, support local creatives, offer warmth and shelter and companionship to those who can’t afford it elsewhere. Librarians have taken many years of schooling, paying student loans for years to do what they love for the people of their community. Librarians take pride, even on the harder days, to fundraise for their own pay cheque and work tirelessly to show the world they are an important part of your community. Through long hours, hard days, minimum funding libraries spotlight local authors by hosting events and buying their books, talking to readers and their families so young children will grow up to love literacy and learning.

Libraries are essential

Funerals are an odd thing but, personally, I find them essential. Never before have I wanted to attend a funeral, a wake, a burial so much as I have in this past year (or is it two weeks) when I lost someone so dear to me it still hurts to say his name. Now, while church services are deemed essential, the church itself cannot accommodate those who want to grieve the loss of a loved one together or to celebrate a new life with a wedding. The same people can meet together on Sunday morning, or whenever a service is held, sit in the same pew and converse but cannot meet again that same night to remember the impression a friend or family member has left on them. They cannot stand beside a loved one and celebrate a new beginning after just sitting and singing beside them hours before.

Gatherings are essential

Playgrounds should remain open to invite the young child outside, to let them climb and swing and be carefree, to meet friends, to feel sunshine on their face, to run and laugh and be a kid.

You are essential.

Whoever you are, whatever you do, whichever direction you take with your passion or job or adventure, you need to be reminded more often that you, too, are essential and you are not alone.

Your mental health is a priority, too and living before you die because, let’s face it WE WILL ALL DIE, is essential. Knowing you are not alone in your thoughts and having the choice to be alone but also be surrounded by people you love when you need, those are all things needed for our mental health.

Please, these are my thoughts, my opinions and I welcome you, encourage you, to share your own and tell me a bit about you and how you feel whatever you do is essential to us all.

Thanks for reading and, in advance, for sharing even if your opinion differs. Let’s just be civil and kind and I, for one, will open my mind.

Sarah Butland

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