Dr. Ashnoor Nagji was trained in Family and Aboriginal Medicine at UBC. She serves as a Clinical Associate Professor for the Faculty of Medicine and an Associate Professor at the School of Population and Public Health at UBC  and is an Instructor for many maternity courses locally and globally.


Sometimes, life forces us to make tough decisions and regardless of the one we pick, there’ll be a story to be told and a weather to weather.  A few weeks ago, with only a couple of days touchdown on Canadian soil, I was back in the skies, saying goodbyes.  There was a mélange of family milestones, train-the-trainer workshops with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Pakistan that leveraged past trainings, and of course, vacation – a little actual time away – that that made the sway.  Before this, the cadence of the past few months had been atypical, but up my alley: a jet setting volley?  My attitude to altitude was ‘most definitely, beam me up scotty!’  It was interesting to be in international airports and situate that in the context of the current COVID-19 events.

What happens when the routine of reality suddenly seems less certain?  I saw scattered masks in the sea of people snaking around me.  How we all respond to circumstance varies – different drives, thresholds, and priorities.  But perhaps, that too is fluid.  I wondered about our day to day.  How so many dream to escape, while others deeply desire syndicate sequence.  Regardless of which camp we sit in, there are times in which things shift.  In fact, I suspect we are on the brink of a robust re-examination.  For the very many who think not of (Maslow’s) hierarchy of needs, this might be just the moment…

After all, aren’t moments all we have?  I remember times when watching smurfs with my dad was better than sliced bread, when going to No Frills for clam chowder was a total treat and when having a reliable supply of toilet paper in the refugee camp (outhouses) was a gamechanger #littlethingsinlife.  Where once we might have focused on those who struggle to have running water and accessible health care, now having hand sanitizer and a coordinated systematic response makes primetime everywhere.  How suddenly things change!  And just like that, usual becomes the new dream.  Where once, we may have wistfully wanted to change our photocopied ways and days, the future’s fuzziness makes routine seem like a ruby, glistening with a preciousness that we might not have fully examined, or even seen.

How many times has humanity had overt opportunity to align, and ascend?  Being back at work as a Family Doc on the frontlines I see clearly; between now and the normative now, no doubt, there’ll be silver lining seconds and situations that’ll offer us scenarios to inquire about one another, introspect about what matters most, interact in novel ways and be (unprecedentedly) interdependent in our plays.  The waters our world will need to navigate are ones from which many sagas and stories will originate.  Until we feel the preciousness of routine return to our homes and hearts, let’s take turns actively being on the lookout:  where can I stand taller?  Surely, ‘ourstory’ in the face of contagion can be that of spreading contactless comfort and unity, of giving help and hope and of being Love and Light for our (human) tribe.

May we shine bright as the diamonds we are (and may we all be safe and sound). In other words, #standtall #standtogether.