Quick Note about this Piece…
Here is an essay I’ve written through my view of how this time has affected my life, what life was like before Covid-19 and where I believe my future is headed. This was requested by my Sociology professor. I felt the need to share this openly to anyone with intentions to transfer a ray of hope. I always, always find the light source. I have to. As I am someone who has spent a lifetime struggling immensely with depression, anxiety, PTSD and trauma – it is vital to my own existence and my very quality of life to change my perspective to see the better side of things. This does not mean I am blinded to the negatives. But I can’t strive to be the best that I can possibly be, if I am in a mindset of doom and gloom. I reflect and reflect until I can turn those negatives into contrasting beauty to better serve myself in my own journey and spiritual walk in life as well as to better serve those around me. I wold love to hear feedback and talk to you about your experience during this time!
Pandemic 2020: The Unprecedented Times Creating the Unnatural Privation of Life
Life as we all knew it, drastically changed by the end of the very first quarter this year in the state of Michigan. Some of the affects that this pandemic has had on me personally were actually quite damaging. My days grew longer and not in a good way. My anxiety skyrocketed as I slowly but surely fell behind in each of my classes. My depression kicked in hardcore as I woke up every day and started to feel like a complete failure. Then one day something clicked when I found this beautiful quote by Peter F. Drucker. It was just what I needed when I started to lose all of my focus: “We live in an age of unprecedented opportunity: If you’ve got ambition and smarts, you can rise to the top of your chosen profession, regardless of where you started out.” After shifting my perspective from “doom” to “opportunity”, I began to lift my own spirits and take advantage of these times so that I am not constantly deprived of life but rather using my resources and creating new ways to live in this new season by making the best and the most of it. Even if that means I have to say “good-bye” to my life before Covid-19, embrace the current situation and have high hopes for my future.
My life before the Pandemic was actually stressful. I started the New Year 2020 with my heart full and my mind fixed on my dreams of becoming a Registered Nurse. However, I still felt deeply intimidated. After all, this was my very first semester in college after graduating high school 8 years ago. (it’s almost been a decade!) Furthermore, the realization of still having 4 years to go until I reach the end of this journey is, well, a lot to accept and be patient about. With starting college for the first time though, I honestly had no idea what to even expect. After the ball got rolling into February, I was in shock at how hard it was to keep up with school, parenting, wife(ing), managing the house, cooking meals for 5 people, helping my grandparents out as much as I can and make time for self-care such attending church on Sundays. That life was messy at the time and completely out of balance. Every day I scrambled like an egg and couldn’t keep things held together. Even then, depression was starting to knock on the door and it whispered through the cracks, “You can’t do this.” I’m usually not one to let fear take over but I was scared because my family was depending on me to make it. I was depending on myself to make it. I’m also very relentless about my goals so I push myself to no ends to make it. Yet, with so much going on at once, it was extremely difficult and that’s what surprised me. Still, March came around and I finally got into a decent rhythm. Ultimately, I could breathe and accomplish one task after another. I started to feel really good about the new life I was creating. Then Covid-19 came around and everything was shut down instantly. I was relieved to catch a break. But when the break didn’t let up, I felt angry that all of my hard work was ruined and not even by my own hands. I had to prematurely close that chapter in life and learn to accept the unexpected.
Governor Whitmer of Michigan created a “Stay Home Stay Safe” order around Mid-March which closed everything that wasn’t essential to be open. March was a long month with many ups and downs for me mentally due to this order and not being able to do the things I, or anyone, would normally do. Then the fact that I may have had to restart my classes if they couldn’t convert online made me extremely pessimistic for a few weeks. It wasn’t until school started back up on April 17th, that I surely started to feel a spark of excitement. At the same time, the transition to online classes wasn’t easy at first and to this day still aren’t. It’s also been hard to stay motivated and keep going with the assignments. I have deeply missed being in school where all of my focus and energy was on just that – school and no distractions. I have missed waking up and starting my morning looking forward to my drive to school with my favorite music blasting through my Ford Explorer’s stock speakers along the way. I have missed the light in my daughter’s eyes when she would get ready to go to school in the morning. My routine before this pandemic was not perfect by any means but we had more to look forward to in our day just from the places we had to go to. I looked forward to the social interactions with others in school. I was struggling to accept the time at home when nothing felt naturally right about it; like there’s a deep privation of life since we haven’t been allowed to do anything. In fact, some adults agree that it makes us feel caged in and takes us back to our childhoods; to a time where we were told what we could and couldn’t do which can squash creativity and aspirations in adulthood.
Then a few weeks ago, by the Grace of God, I found that quote by Peter and my whole entire world has changed yet again for the third time this year. The unravelling awareness that starting classes online was another huge opportunity that I desperately needed to keep myself going. Also, I brought forth to my conscious how grateful and thankful I truly am that all 4 of my classes have changed to remote learning. Because the very fact is this: I do get to finish this crazy semester during this unprecedented time! Which means that I do get to keep pushing towards my goals. I do get to find my success and reach achievements that I’ve waited for so long to make happen. My future is not doomed and it’s up to me to make it. Moving past all of my mental hardships I’ve gone through since January, at last, I can say that I feel immensely self-assured. At the end of the day, life is what we make it and make of it. When things get flipped upside down so quickly, we easily forget about what we can control which is our responses to the event. We can control how we act and, to an extent, even how we feel. We can choose to stay down and depressed and sleep this time away. Or… we can get up and seize the day with all of its wonderful opportunities lined up before us. Now, I can see that this time was needed in my life. It brought me down with intentions to build me back up stronger than before. It has humbled me to remember that nothing is ever set in stone but the point of it all is to keep going and keep working hard. With my newfound enlightenment, I can officially say that I am excited for what my future brings. Actually, I now have more than hope for my future! Thanks to this pandemic and everything I’ve went though this year, I now have reassurance that as long as I am ambitious, thinking critically and using every piece of my will-power for each God-given day, I will nonetheless be prosperous. It was a blessing in disguise to say goody-bye to my previous life before Covid-19 and embrace this new change.
As we move forward, we add little pieces to history and this will be one to remember. With that being said, I am not at all or in any way content with the tragedies that many has faced during this time. I deeply sympathize with all who have been hit hard from this pandemic, those who have lost jobs and their loved ones. I am sincerely sorry for all that we’ve lost during this time. My only hope is that is that others find the light and are able to use it to their advantage in the same way that I have. We all have to push through our fears and limitations so that we are courageous and limitless. I believe we all have the ability to do that no matter what life throws our way. Specifically, for me, this time has shown me how to be resilient. I can now carry that little super power with me anywhere I go (and can’t go) as well as use it at anytime that I need to, especially on those harder days when life feels unnaturally deprived. We will get through this together.