I didn’t notice how the coronavirus pandemic was affecting me at first. No one I knew personally was ill from it, and although my daily schedule was altered, it still seemed like a bad dream occurring somewhere far off.
It hit the world fast. Shops, schools, restaurants shut down rapidly and soon grocery shopping became strategized and was considered a risky outing. But at the same time, just like what humans do when faced with a new situation, we learned how to adapt. Unconsciously I would sing to myself happy birthday (twice) while washing my hands, and grab the sanitizer and spray my phone before entering the house. But I still felt disconnected from what was really happening. I knew the numbers and the facts and heard the daily reporting of growing cases, but it never fully registered. The increasing cases seemed to be just numbers, data points on a graph.
Then one day, suddenly, my seemingly perfect bubble popped. I felt guilty, easily frustrated, confused, and impatient at everything in general. Perhaps this was all building up in the background while I tried to quietly convince myself that if I held off long enough things would go back to the way they were. After the frustration came the mood swings, creeping up from behind and striking me when I least expected it. While some people lost more than others, everyone experienced the loss of stability. For the first time in a while, the future didn’t seem at all that bright. It was filled with universal anxiousness and doubt. We had all succeeded in adapting, but the majority of us were far from accepting.
Slowly yet steadily, I started seeking comfort in the simpler things; things that used to go unnoticed. I found stability in nature; the trees that stretched up firmly from the ground, and up to the clouds that puffed up like cotton candy late in the afternoon. I appreciated food more than ever, the exciting sensation of flavors swirling in my mouth. Some things I decided to disconnect with, such as the overwhelming digital and televised world. Instead, I connected with those closest to me. I cherished the times with my family more, whether it was taking a walk, going on a small yet spontaneous drive, or sharing laughs as we watched our favorite tv shows until midnight. Seeing friends through screens would never be as fulfilling as seeing them in person, but we would still make each other laugh, consult our worries about the future, ramble on about insignificant details that happened throughout our day, and for a few moments, that was all the reassurance we needed. These moments were the small yet significant things that even a pandemic could not take away from us and is what guided us to rediscover, reevaluate, and cherish our values once again. And for that, I am thankful.