Today I’d like to share with you my personal reflection on COVID-19 pandemic. I’d like to touch on how it has changed my perspective on my surroundings and my circumstances.
COVID-19 is still impacting our everyday lives.
It is unfortunate that COVID-19 still firmly has its clutch tightly around our waists. Stay home. Practice safe social distance. Wear masks (or not). These suggestions must have been uniformly the most popular sentences uttered by almost all politicians and news outlets, whether in live news reporting or print media. It is unfortunate and scary that we, the proud and invincible humans, can be so vulnerable when confronted by this invisible little virus that technically is not even alive.
As of the publication of this article, COVID-19 has already claimed the lives of more than 340,000 people, and have caused 5.4 million people to be sick worldwide.
It is just a new strand of a common virus, my family doctor told me. It was a cold February day, when I went to visit him for a swollen lymph node and casually asked him what he thought about COVID-19. I took his opinion to heart. Little did I know that the world would have changed so much since then, that Lysol wipes and hand sanitizers would have appeared every few feet of the small office space, that companies would have started placing tighter and tighter restrictions around traveling, and finally enacting a working-from-home policy, and that the unemployment rate would have skyrocketed.
Acknowledgment of my privileges during this pandemic
I am definitely one of the fortunate ones out here.
- I have not lost my job, and nobody in my immediate circles has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
- A few elderly people I know who are high-risk and living in retirement homes had the opportunity to leave to stay with their grown-up kids.
- My parents were shrewd enough (from hindsight obviously; at that time I just thought they were crazy) to purchase a few boxes of masks and gloves that come in handy nowadays when we have to venture out for some grocery.
- I have also been able to stay with my parents instead of living alone. Although we argue sometimes, love is still the thread that holds us together.
- I can feel it in my dad’s serious face (though I wish he could smile a bit more) and his constant warning that I should wash my hands, and my mom’s constant nagging (annoying, I know) and her YouTubing different recipes just to make something that’s a little bit different from the regular routine.
Yes, although I do miss hanging out with my friends, compared to all the nurses and doctors on the front-line, the grocery workers who get paid so little yet are faced with high risks, the crew members who have lost their jobs and the pilots whose licenses may get revoked, I feel so lucky.
Despite everything that is going on, I am still deeply grateful for some changes COVID-19 has made in my life.
COVID-19 has given me a chance to slow down and discover magnificence in ordinary beauty.
These two months at home has allowed me to be a silent and admirable observer of the magic of spring, to see buds transforming into leaves and flowers, to observe squirrels swinging from one tree to the other, and see bunnies hopping with a diligence that only Mother Nature can confer.
I have also somehow found time to watch birds dancing on the roofs, walking around like proud sopranos. These little creatures of life that I so grotesquely ignored in favour of neon lights have added colours to and become a solace in my otherwise mundane life isolating at home.
COVID-19 has also given me a chance to self-reflect on what exactly is the most important in my life.
All the conspicuous consumptions and fancy fanfare can easily consume our attention and desire under the influence of outside world’s hustle and bustle. I was always busy planning for my next vacation, when the most peaceful vacation could be a staycation watching wild flowers grow in my parents’ small garden, and was always trying out new restaurants to find dishes worthy to take pictures of, when the most memorable meal could be one made with my mom with the fresh cucumbers coming from the garden and eggs from a local farm. It dawned on me when all the luxury leather goods and perfume companies switched to producing face masks and hand sanitizers, that we can still live a happy and fulfilling life without them.
Thoughts on the post-pandemic world
Should we go back to our roots, or at least, give our roots a bit more appreciation, even when the pandemic is behind us? Well, I don’t necessarily think that we should retreat completely back to our survival mode as what we are doing now, because I do believe that there is benefit to our overall well-being to spend a bit of money on the little extras that the human intelligence has engineered or created. For example, I do miss going out to restaurants and enjoy a shared experience with my friends and family, and I do miss visiting new cities and observing the local’s way of living. But I think no matter where I spend my money on, I will have a deeper appreciation of my living circumstances, a deeper awareness of my privileges, and a deeper purpose in mind.
Let us remember that in this modern era of choices and luxury, we have suffered as a single species together, and have been reminded by Mother Nature that food, shelter, medication and closest families and friends are the true foundations of our lives. Not the luxury bags, not the exotic adventures, and certainly not the fancy resorts in Maldives.
P.S., If you want to read more about my personal stories related to COVID-19, you may be interested in checking out the tips that I find useful to navigate through the pandemic, or what COVID has done to my wallet!