The pandemic forced us to adapt to drastic changes in 3 months; changes that usually happen in the course of 5 years. The emotional, financial and psychological rollercoaster that is 2020 is that part of the history books you never thought you’d be in. But we’re here, not much closer to the end of the year, and I’m just rediscovering why we keep going.
It started with fear, that became denial, then delusion. There was fear and uncertainty when the news started creeping in. I thought to myself, “no one can ever tell me that it’s only in the movies.” For a hot minute, I thought I would do well because I’ve been training for this my whole life. What the hell else is the use of being raised surrounded by fiction in books and TV if not for this? So, I understood that it was out of my control, but I can control how I react to it. I tried to distract myself with routine, but it is useless if your mind wants to be elsewhere.
We all said we’ll be back in a few months but we all knew that a few months don’t seem right. As we know, bad became worse and worse became hell on earth, and I was losing control of things I should have control over. I became irritated, angry then frustrated. There were days when I would find myself surprised that hours passed by without me realizing it. Yes, I was busy but it wasn't that. It was because I wasn’t there. It was bizarre and frightening. It took me longer than usual to realize that trying harder was not going to solve it.
Nothing was taken away from me, apart from opportunities that weren’t mine to begin with. And that’s where I couldn’t reconcile myself with. The part of life that “would have been”. But I wasn’t about to express myself what would have been, what I would have done and what I wanted now. I knew it wasn’t the right time to want something, and it wouldn’t be right to want anything for a while. I have more than enough and others have less than nothing or lost the most important things. It always echoed in my head: I am not essential, and what I do is not essential; I am dispensable.
Coincidentally, eventually or consequently, things started to open up and come into place. It revived me and reminded me of why we do what we do. What we do could mean helping businesses stay afloat. We create ways for people to get back to work. We build options for people to work from home where they are safe with their families. We allow more people to experience human side of working. We pave ways for people to grow.
I don’t think I was close to stopping or giving up. I was raised by boomer parents who don’t understand the concept of taking a break and retirement so the opposite are not in my dictionary. My sisters who are mothers, wives and professionals, adapted to the change ahead of everyone else. My friends dealt with their own paths in their own time and are thriving. More importantly, I have a very patient husband and partner who was as playful and sweet as he could be while coping with the same things.
The pandemic forced us to live with changes imposed overnight. We lost the reasons for what we do and the processes on how things are done are thrown out of the window. But for some of us who still can and still have, the reason has to be better. There will be no “work hard, party harder” for a while but you still have to keep going. When the year ends, it would comfort me that more of us would say, I’ve done better than what I thought I could.
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