A year ago, if someone asked me, “What will you do if a pandemic hits and we’re all forced to stay at home?” I would have quickly responded, “it’s unlikely to happen,” which would probably be a slap to my face, given that I’m still at home, sometimes listening to the incessant phone notifications I’ve been receiving for the past couple of days (which I cannot turn off, simply because it’s primarily work-related) or often staring blankly at the faux stars stuck up on my ceiling, wondering what to do next.
I have now memorized each spot of our house. I now know where most of the stuff I kept asking my mom before can be found. For a while, everything hits different.
A year of lockdown taught me that you don’t need to pay a significant sum of money to try new things. Who knew we could make scrumptious dishes just by watching viral videos on TikTok? I know, right? Everything is possible to do virtually, even celebrations. It may not be as enjoyable compared to the physical one, but hey, at least we don’t have to make it seem like we’re interested in listening to someone’s stories and pretend that it doesn’t bore us out before we bail out of the venue, right? A simple “lost connection” as an excuse would suffice. (Oops!)
A year of lockdown taught me to value the things I usually take for granted. It is not that it takes a pandemic to grasp the importance of things, but it just emphasizes its impact—no longer will certain things, memories, or experiences go unnoticed. It taught me to be more grateful about things like not having to worry about what to eat while others must wait in line to get free food or still having a family to go home to while some wept watching their loved ones be taken away without having the chance to say goodbye.
I’ve never really thought about social statuses in life, but this pandemic made me realize how privileged some of us are compared to others. And that sometimes, when we’re raised with all our needs met, it’s hard to see that privilege, and more often than not, it’s hard for some to recognize other people’s struggles. Not all people are strong enough to handle things as opposed to how we view them.
The most significant takeaway this pandemic has given me is that nothing’s wrong with slowing things down. Before this, everyone seemed like they’re rushing everything. Rushing to go to work and forgetting to eat breakfast. Rushing to accomplish something and never noticing the time you’re not spending with your loved ones. Rushing your timeline because other people at your age seemed to have achieved a lot compared to you, never realizing that you run your race at your own pace.
It’s easy to feel stagnant in a world where everything moves fast. Sometimes we run so fast we tend to forget how pivotal it is to slow down. We try so hard to outrun things in our life that eventually life outruns us. So, it’s okay to be proud of your progress, no matter how big or small it is or whether it is not where you planned or expected yourself to be. It’s a step towards where you wanted to be, and that’s enough reason for you to celebrate.
I know we can’t help but feel discouraged when things don’t go according to plan, but I hope you don’t lose sight of one single thing: that there was a time you once thought nothing would be okay, and yet here you are, alive and still moving forward. One small step at a time. And that is enough—more than enough.