By this point, you’ve probably seen the TikToks and social media posts about people’s journeys of self-discovery throughout the pandemic. The before and after photos, the progress montages, and the results of a whole mindset change summarized in thirty seconds. Seeing other people’s progress can inspire some, but it becomes a problem when it’s everywhere and you just can’t relate.
This pandemic has given many people a very long length of time to be at home, have more time on their hands, and room to breathe without the suffocation of societal expectations. To many, this extra time and space seem like the perfect opportunity to become the best version of yourself, and this can make those that didn’t have that opportunity feel like they are behind somehow. It can feel like everyone is progressing in leaps while you’ve only taken a step. However, having this time and space doesn’t mean that someone is going to come out the other side of a global trauma event a changed person. Most people are simply trying to keep up with school and work, be there for their families, or simply stay healthy and alive. Not to mention, no one will ever share the entire story of their journey with you, especially not on social media. They may make it look like it happened quickly and painlessly, but progress of any kind takes a multitude of smaller steps, with some making a bigger impact than others.
Although not everyone has changed dramatically, it doesn’t take away from the fact that people have accomplished so much amidst a global health crisis. People have found jobs, welcomed new family members, graduated, finished projects, protested, gotten engaged, started that book they’ve been meaning to read, gotten through a stressful semester, and simply got out of bed in the morning. These may not seem like monumental things, but they are just as important as any major life changes. You may not have changed completely, but you grew whether you noticed it or not. The little things have nourished you, strengthened you, and prepared you for whatever is next.
You didn’t waste time by not transforming yourself during this pandemic, even learning something small about yourself is okay. Other people having these monumental revelations doesn’t diminish how you live your life and what you attribute to being successful.
Above all, the government did not intend social distancing to be a time of self-reflection; they meant it to be a safety measure. If you didn’t change drastically, it just means that you didn’t need that big of a change in your life to begin with. Humans are ever developing, so you’ll have plenty of time and chances as life moves on to become who you truly are and want to be. As the saying goes, good things take time.