Life as we once knew it is long gone. It is quarantine day number “who freaking knows” and as Drake said back in 2013, nothing was the same, literally. Living in the middle of a pandemic has been interesting, to say the least.
There’s been much discussion around creativity, productivity, and how people plan to come out of this quarantine differently. Well for me, I’ve tapped into a new level of self-awareness and gained clarity. Oftentimes, I feel as if I’m always in a state of self-improvement/introspection/self-awareness and I’d like to view that as a positive because it is an indicator of growth. Throughout each phase of life that we leave and enter, we are constantly growing and evolving. I mean, what would existence be without growth and upward progression? With that being said, I’d like to call this chapter: Learning – because I’ve been doing a whole lot of it during this time. I’ve had a plethora of time to sit back and truly reflect on past and current experiences and how I want to change and improve my behaviors and patterns to be the best possible, fulfilled version of myself. Again, this involves a lot looking inward and self-reflection.
During these past two months, I've also found myself feeling guilty for being in such a positive, peaceful space when there are people – Black and brown people that look like me, that are dying at freakishly alarming rates. That feeling brings a sense of social responsibility and heavy weight on my shoulders. While that feeling comes, it also passes and then I find myself filled with gratitude. Gratitude for having the time to just sit back and exhale. Gratitude for the additional time to tap back into old hobbies that I once enjoyed like reading, writing, and painting. Gratitude for developing this newfound love for nature. Gratitude for creating deeper bonds and closer relationships with loved ones. On the contrary, my productivity levels have decreased, as “working from home” as a grad student has been a difficult task for me, even though my days are filled with multiple Zoom calls. How on earth am I supposed to focus and write a dissertation with so much going on in the country and world right now? This time has brought its various challenges, but I have still managed to find a silver lining in the midst of adversity.
Along with gratitude for life, I’ve been able to expand my self-care practices to include sticking to a consistent workout regimen, eating healthier, and getting back into a meditation practice. I share all of this to say that there is no “right” way to live and navigate in the middle of a pandemic. All that matters is that you are being safe and taking care of yourself. It’s important to have a solid self-care routine and activities that you can engage in when the weight of this pandemic gets heavy. It is my hope that everyone is safe and healthy during this time. Continue to practice social distancing and wash your hands!