About a year ago today, my entire life changed. I was thrust into lockdown. I watched as the people around me suddenly couldn’t go to work. I watched as people had to stay at home because of a new threat that was slowly making its way around the world, threatening normalcy as we had previously known it. Fortunately, I was still able to work and I counted my lucky stars for being able to stay at home and work. Life hadn’t really changed so much for me as I was still able to work.
But other aspects did change. For one, I started utilizing grocery pickup services, so as to avoid congregating in crowds at supermarkets. For another, I saw with increasing trepidation the rise of unemployment. I saw how basic essentials that I have always taken for granted before were suddenly obsolete on the supermarket shelves. It was as if the apocalypse was here. We were all clad in the familiar masks, shield, and gloves, each determined to avoid the threat the loomed over us all.
Despite this momentous event that has changed my life, and so many others, I am still really grateful to Covid-19, quarantine, and lockdown. Because of lockdown, I was able to stop and reflect on my plans for the future. I was able to think about where I’ve come from and how far I had to get there. But most importantly, I was able to learn five of the most important life lessons of all. Through the horridness of the Covid-19 pandemic, I learned above all the importance of love, life, and the eternally everlasting concept of hope.
There is good in even the most trying of circumstances.
I know, I know, you’re probably reading this and thinking what? Is she crazy? What good can there possibly be from the Covid-19 pandemic?. Covid-19 is pretty bad. I am not refuting that at all. According to a quick Google search, there have been millions and millions of cases of people who have contracted Covid-19. People have been hospitalized or have seen family members and friends get Covid. This is absolutely a very serious virus, and it is all the more powerful because it is contagious and it has essentially stopped the economy in more ways than one. We are still suffering from the ramifications of the events of 2020 and I expect the ramifications to still stay with us for a long while.
However, there is still good that can be found from a pandemic. For example, perhaps you have been spending too much time at work, Covid layed you off, and now you suddenly have extra time to spend with your family. In another case, Covid-19 has given you the opportunity to spend an unlimited amount of time at work. How to fill that excess time? Many have started a hobby, such as knitting, blogging, and creating tiktoks. Or, in yet another case, “essential” workers are finally getting the recognition that they deserve and hopefully their salaries will match that of the contribution that they have given both during and before this pandemic.
In all of these cases, Covid-19 has paved the way by giving us a reason for the bad. Whether it has given us the opportunity to spend more time with family, take up a new hobby or interest, or have greater appreciation for “essential” workers. It has also given us the opportunity to appreciate the things that we have all taken for granted before. And I think that is the most amazing thing of all.
Value today because you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow.
Covid-19 has undoubtedly given us all a reason to be thankful for the things that we have, even giving us more time to spend doing things that really matter. It has also served as a timely reminder that we should always value today because you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is never guaranteed, and yet that is something that many of us take for granted. I mean, think about it. We buy milk, expecting to finish the gallon in a few weeks. We buy green bananas, expecting to eat them when they are fully ripe. We put things off until tomorrow, next week, or even next month, expecting that we will still be here.
But the truth of the matte is, tomorrow is never guaranteed. We all should remember that from now. Especially now when many people in this country, and the world, have seen or known someone who has contracted or even died from Covid-19. When we see people we love and care about go to the ends of the Earth, battling Death, then we start seeing life different. We start recognizing the very fragility of life. We start seeing that life is something that is precious and really only given to the chosen few. And then only a small percentage of that is allowed to grow to old age.
So, with that in mind, always appreciate life. Always appreciate today. Never put off tomorrow what you can do today.
Love and hope are the arsenals to long lasting strength.
I think one thing that has helped to carry me through this pandemic is strength. Despite the trying times of the past year, which is probably enough to cause many people to sink into the depths of depression, many of us have still been able to get through it. The reason that they have been able to get through a time that has tested them financially, physically, and emotionally is through love and hope. Love and hope are the arsenals to long lasting strength. As long as we have love and hope, then we can attain the necessary strength to get through anything.
We need love. We need gratification and validation from the people around us — our family, friends, neighbors, co-workers. When we are fueled by the love from someone else — either romantic or platonic — it gives us the courage and motivation to journey through the darkest of days. When someone is battling through the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic without anyone to turn to for support, then it becomes a lonely time indeed. That is why when people have someone to turn to — either in-person or virtually — then a little bit of hope starts to sprout from within.
In addition to love, we need hope. We need that spark of light to guide us toward better times ahead. We need that light as a reminder that good times are within reach. We need it as a reminder that everything will be good again. When we keep this in mind as we journey through the darkest of tunnels, we find that suddenly have the capacity and strength to carry on. When we have the love from others to guide us, as well as the light to show us that there is a way forward, then we find that we have the tremendous strength to do what we need to do for us.
Home is not a prison but a sanctuary from the storm.
While in lockdown, many of us were stuck at home. Previously, we may have viewed the house as simply a place to eat, take a bath, and sleep, and then do it all over again. But then, we were in lockdown. It suddenly transformed from a place where we refreshed and recharged to a place that meant so much more than that. Suddenly, the house was a place to work, to go to school, to eat, as well as to sleep and to clean up.
Since the transformation of the family house into a home, many of us have to realize that it is more than a place to do the bare essentials. Many of us spend between $1K and $3K a month on rent or mortgage payments. Since we spend so much money a month, doesn’t it make sense that we get the full value of it by spending as much time as possible? Unfortunately, it appears that this only came to fruition last year in 2020 when we were all forced into our homes during lockdown. It is only then that we realized that the home is not a prison but rather a sanctuary from the storm.
Previously, the home did sometimes feel like a prison. Similar to a prison, it is enclosed, has the same mundane food, and the house work is never ending. Similar to a prison, we see the same people in the house every day and every hour. It can get a bit tiresome after awhile. But when we think of the home as a prison, we see the home as a place that we have to have, but don’t particularly like. I think the lockdown changed that. Lockdown forced us to finally view the home as a respite. It showed us that the home is really the only place that we are free. At home, we are free to do whatever we like. At home, we are free to dance around in our underwear, laugh and eat until our bellies ache, and sing at the top of our lungs. At home, we are free to be ourselves.
This freedom to be ourselves is not something that we can do anywhere else. With the constant never ending threat of racism and bullying that plagues our world and country, it is not safe to be ourselves. We often have to put up a front when we are out and about in public. We have to put up a front in order to appear to be presentable and civilized beings. We have to essentially transform ourselves into people that society expects. But at home, that’s not the case. At home, you are safe from any external threats that threaten to destroy our very existence.
There is a creative solution to everything.
One thing that I have noticed last year is the emergence of the creative arts. It was almost like the Italian renaissance all over again. Suddenly, I saw people creating YouTube videos, writing blog posts, creating TikTok and Instagram Reels, and writing books. During a time when many people were, I’m sure, extremely bored, they instead put down the remote control and turned off the TV. Instead, they did something else that made the time a lot more bearable. Anyone can sit and wile away the time. That would have been the easy way out. But instead, I saw people seek creative solutions, giving validation to my belief that there is a creative solution to everything.
Now, when I feel stuck, I feel as if I shouldn’t. I feel as if when something comes up, then I have no excuse but to look for a creative solution. I shouldn’t just sit and wait for it to be over. I should think of a new way to do things. I’ve seen people let go of their 9-5 job. Instead of sitting on the couch collecting their unemployment checks, I saw them look for other, even creative ways, to make ends meet. I saw them take on small part time or freelance jobs. I saw them open up a new business, determined to sell or create something.
The moral of this is that even when life seems impossible or throws you for a curve ball, you shouldn’t give up. There is always something you can do. Look for a creative solution to a problem in your life. When we are creative, that is when are most likely to succeed.
The Covid-19 pandemic took a toll on a lot of us. It has tested us in ways that we never expected. We can take so much from this experience. For that reason, we should remember to be grateful for the Covid-19 pandemic. We should be grateful for it teaching us about the important things, such as love, hope, and strength. We should be grateful for reminding us of the fragility of life and that tomorrow is never guaranteed. We should be grateful to giving us the opportunity to think of creative solutions to problems that might otherwise have stymied us. In every situation, we can find the good in it. We just have to have love in our hearts, have hope for a better future, and then find the strength to move on. As we pass the first year anniversary of lockdown in this country, let’s remember this. Never forget.