Life ain’t meant to be safe

So here we are in a bright new year – happy new year, by the way – and what comes to mind, but the holy graveyard. It’s a beautiful cemetery, truly historic and beautifully floored and a refreshing morning stroll.

Most mornings I’m there with the dog. There, we cross the park, pass in front of the skating rink where the children are laughing, then in front of the wood where the dog sniffs the dead leaves and then kills her, you know. Then it’s up the wooden stairs to said graveyard where said dog – you’ll recall her name is Grace – likes to run across headstones. If there is snow, even better.

You’ll laugh, but my fiancée and I – we’re not that old – have already bought our burial ground. I like to plan, you know? I mean, you could cross a road and get hit by a milk truck. Just say. Today’s danger is due to many things.

Consider dangerous places you should never visit, like, say, Afghanistan or Yemen (okay, we lived there for a few years) or Syria. In 2021, these three countries are, in the Global Peace Index, the least peaceful nations in the world. Iceland (Iceland?!) is apparently now the most peaceful country in the world, with low crime, strong social supports and classes that get along very well.

Canada is 10th in this particular ranking. And the USA? It is now the 122nd most peaceful country. Hmm.

But let’s be realistic. Is anyone safe anywhere? Granted, a few tiny specs, ocean islands, report no COVID-19 or herd immunity. Even so, the greatest danger in the world is still the human heart. Yes, heart disease is by far the biggest killer of people. Then caress. Around one in four deaths worldwide is the cause, which is understandable since around half of the world’s population is now in its 70s.

It is believed, however, that COVID-19 is now driving all deaths in several European countries, such as France and the United Kingdom, and several Latin American countries, such as Brazil. In fact, the Americas and Europe, with a quarter of the world’s population, account for around 80% of the 5.5 million deaths from the pandemic worldwide.

Speaking of dying, but living longer, I still consider myself to be 20 years old. Apparently this is common as we mature into old age. In fact, I’m over thirty-something, old enough to torment my three teenage boys with 70s music. Either way, by the time you read this, with good travel fortune, I’ll be in sub-Saharan Africa.

If I’m not, it’s because either A) I tested positive and never got on the plane, or B) I got on the plane only to knock it off the plane. sky or C) something else went wrong, leaving me curled up on a floor in the airport, wondering how the dog is doing. I will update you later on my whereabouts, my well-being and the task at hand in my former Ugandan residence hall.

But in terms of danger, at least global pandemic danger, the interesting news is also that the pandemic is not the leading cause of death in much of Southeast Asia or the Western Pacific, where before vaccines, she masked, strong contact tracing and early isolation of infected people (not mass lockdowns) which was a key plan of attack. COVID-19 is also not causing deaths across Africa, including my specific destination Uganda. Admittedly, developing countries under-report. Also, a younger African population exposed to various diseases may be more resilient.

Still, yeah-yeah, I’ll have my eyebrows raised, the big question, like in the good old days when I was leaving Canada. I would go to the mall to buy shorts and sometimes I would mention Uganda. “Truly?” Then the predictable, “Is it safe?”

“Safe?” I will answer. “Have you lost your mind?” Alright, I would never say that. Sometimes I just said, “No, it’s not safe. But, again, life is not meant to be safe.

That’s what makes life beautiful. This is what helps us to enjoy the days given to us. I mean really. Life? Safe? For all its awful grief, the pandemic has at least burst that bubble.

Thomas Froese writes about news, travel and life. Find it on

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