When I thought about 2020, this is the last thing I expected..
I live in Northern Ontario, Canada. Starting in February the virus seemed long and far away and now in March we are starting to realizing it’s severity as it takes its grip on us.
We are cancelling large-scale events, working from home and avoiding meeting in groups larger than 5 or 6 people.
What feels safe still is to go for a short walk, which our friends in Spain and Italy cannot appreciate.
Right now, we are very fortunate.
2020 has been a year full of twists, turns and surprises.
2020 was expected to be a monumental decade.
2020 was expected to be visionary.
However, all of this is still true.
Where there is vision, there is always and will be hope.
Ultimately, how we look at an international pandemic is up to every one of us. This is not to justify the unimaginable tragedies and deaths happening in the world by this virus, but it’s time to take things into perspective.
Humans have survived economic depressions, viruses and unimaginable feats in world wars. Many have come through with the deepest and astonishing appreciation and understanding of humanity, family, faith and love.
However, here is a reality:
- Graduations, ceremonies and monumental exhibitions will be cancelled, eradicating beautiful moments that were long-awaited (including for myself)
- Large-scale events (for example, the NBA) are being cancelled taking away the paycheques of millions of people in the event industry
- Actors, performers, artists and comedians who rely on shows and gigs as a sole income have been stripped away from this support
- Servers who rely on tips. My friend who is a server is unable to now pay for her rent. I have faith her, however, because her faith and confidence in life is unbreakable individually.
- We are afraid. We are afraid for our seniors, and small children and don’t want to talk about this fear. Despite optimism, at times we are imagining the worst. It’s only natural.
As weird as this might sound, and despite the slightly eerie vibe of empty schools and playgrounds and restaurants, I am finding this crisis to be totally enlightening. I’m a fairly spiritual person and there have been a few distinguishing moments for me throughout this emergency in which it has become clear to me that God or the universe or which ever higher power is out there has placed this crisis for a reason.
We live such incredibly fast-paced lives. Especially in Western society, we value and praise and think that busyness to the point of exhaustion is a badge of honour.
We have forgotten to experience a genuine, sincere life based on our true selves and values.
We praise our worth based on to-do lists or resumé additions when we should praise our human meaning on our ability to create a spark in a loved ones eye, or bring a smile to someone else.
We often go about our lives so busy, blindfolded with eyes hurting from exhaustion that we are often on autopilot. We itch to check a text when our loved one is begging us for attention, we wait and wait and wait in traffic and then rush to race the next person to the liquor store.
Sometimes some of us don’t truly wake up at all.
When our minds go into manual mode and that itch of discomfort, that realization of our character flaws, bad habits and this process of ‘waking up’ because so much, that many people prefer to live their lives in the comfort of monotony their entire existence.
The itch of discomfort is too much for some.
Many of us prefer to live steer us and to avoid steering lives our selves; they do not take the moment to stop and take control just in case they see something they do not like.
Perhaps, because we have vowed to not stop in our lives, the universe has stopped it for us.
It has pulled everything around us to a screeching stop and forced us to make a haven in the everyday lives and moments of our own lives.
We shouldn’t shy away from the truths of our own lives; reflection means growth. Awareness means growth. We have a responsibility as humans to grow. We thrive under growth, and I believe this is the universe telling us to slow down.
I am saddened that I will probably not be able to see my parents gleam in their eyes across my graduation, or that my friends are struggling to buy groceries and even that people who would once smile to each other in the grocery stores are now fighting for non-perishable food items.
However, however, I believe there is so much good, there are so many beautiful moments and realizations we are having; there are opportunities that are out there we can grab onto if we keep our eyes open and our heads up:
- Many parents are spending time with their children. Not rushed play-time at night or one or two books read after a long day at work. No, but crafts, and puzzles and are able to get to know their quickly growing children and this time is nourishing their children’s souls.
- With our partners we are taking the time to go on that walk or date that we’ve been putting off, and the limitation of distractions is really letting us see each other. We are asking each other how we are doing, like, really doing, and we are learning to enjoy simple daily activities and boring things – that really… make for the most beautiful moments.
- Teenagers who typically spend hours on their cellphones are spending time with their families and are opening up
- We are calling or stopping by to our aging grandparents place just to say hi, to see how they are doing and even offering to run errands for them
- Neighbours around the world are singing, working out, playing in close communities through their windows – even while inside
- People are being transparent and putting their differences away to commend people in the service and medical industry and encouraging one another to stay well
- We are (without complaint) cancelling long-awaited events for the betterment and well-being of our species
- Despite the horror of some of the virus outcomes… we are finding comfort in becoming one, coming together for a greater cause
- We are taking care of each other and slowing down to do this more than ever
Many people are partaking in the fear and madness that is easy to fall into, however more than ever, I am consequently seeing connection and magic happen.
As said earlier, humans have been through many crisis’ and countless trials throughout history.
Many have come out stronger and closer to their community, family and friends when they made the choice to do so. Many have slowed down to re-evaluate the direction in their lives and the values and direction they are leading and the way they treat themselves and others.
Many have come out stronger through gratitude: gratitude for their partner, nurses, families, friends and those working in their community.
Many have come out stronger through creation. Many are pulling out their pencils to write, like I am tonight, or to draw, or colour or bead a necklace. Many are making love more, making more cookies or making up with friends.
Many are slowing down to create a better future. What I mean by this is we can’t propel forward without slowing down into the present. Reflection: thinking about your values, true life desires, your brand, the people and thoughts you believe in are needed to go forward. If you don’t like something in your life, it’s up to you to change it. Go for it!
What am I doing? I am not in school for a week and over the weekend I took time to laugh more than usual with my partner, to understand myself and him more, and to fuse joy into a new friend I made.
I am taking the time to understand my character flaws; as much as I am looking at what I love about myself. I am taking the time to look at what truly brings me joy in my life; and I’m realizing that slowing down is something I want to bring more of because it has only brought magic.
I’m taking the time to text and catch up with family friends and old friends I haven’t spoken with in months. I called my Dad today and talked for 1/2 and hour and joked around for the first time in a bit.
I’m taking the time to try a new baking recipe (which I just failed at – but my house smells delicious! I can only laugh).
I’m building a connection with future clients, my teachers and my co-workers at Cambrian.
This is what I’m choosing to do. What are you choosing to do?
Thanks so much for reading.
Please let me know how you are dealing with this crisis and what your thoughts are. We are all here to support each other.