Quarantine: Snap Out of Your Bubble

When I first set off to write this article, I intended to create a list of the positive things we can focus on while in quarantine. This list consisted of things from how we have time to learn a new skill to how the virus is humbling us in the long term. However, when I was drafting it, I felt writing an article about positivity was insensitive and ignorant. It was like running away from the problem. Here’s why:

I haven’t been affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. Although my flight back home to Pakistan was canceled and I’m now stuck in the United States, I have incredible family members who were ever-ready to provide me with food, shelter, and care. I can’t complain at all. Quarantine for me has been a time to get work done, find ways to be productive, and still have plenty of time left over to relax and binge watch TV shows. Truth be told, there have been days where I have forgotten that there’s a virus out there that’s taking lives. I’m so snuggled up in my little bubble that I’ve failed to recognize the weight of this situation. 

Many of you might relate to my situation, and that’s not entirely a bad thing. We’re so blessed to find comfort in what may be a very troubling and heart-wrenching time for another person. What we’re all missing, though, is the fact that while we might be plotting to kill time by trying out new recipes, there are families that are mourning the lives of their loved ones. While we take the second nap of the day, someone is struggling to find any sleep because of the heartbreak and agony they are facing. The numbers are increasing day by day. How could I encourage people to look at the positives when the whole problem is that we’re ignoring the reality of this pandemic?

The United States has surpassed all other countries with positive COVID-19 cases. At the time I write this article, that number is precisely 427,460 with 14,696 total deaths --as per the CDC. These numbers are substantial. They are large. Yet, somehow, I haven’t thought twice about them because they haven’t affected me personally. 

It’s not until something unfavorable overcomes you or someone you love that you begin to realize the severity of a situation. That’s where we are and where we are wrong. We need to snap out of the bubble and look around us. Where there aren’t people dying, people are struggling to afford three meals a day. So many families have lost their jobs, and they have no financial security. Not only are they scrambling to get by, but the stress and anxiety of their situation is only making them more susceptible to illness. A dear friend of mine had to find employment during this period because her father was laid off. She has to step up and provide for her family, even if that means risking her health. Please count your blessings. 

Let’s not forget what’s in front of us either --the healthcare workers. They are at the forefront of this virus. They have families and lives. When are we going to realize that they’re just as human as we are?

There is not much we can do about the situation we’re dealing with, but the least would be to stop being ignorant. We need to be empathetic more so than ever. Think about the spouses stuck with partners that abuse them, or even the student returning to an unwelcoming home. Or think about the person with a mental illness that relies on worldly activities as a coping mechanism. Think about how fragile a situation that is. That could be any of us. 

This goes out to me, and anyone who can resonate with my feelings: yes, we have to continue to find methods to heighten our productivity because our lives aren’t on halt. We still have to keep ourselves busy because none of us are accustomed to this kind of lifestyle. We’re allowed to feel overwhelmed too. But, let’s stop acting like this is a vacation. It isn't all fun and games; it’s a difficult situation. Instead of boasting about our quarantine efforts on social media, maybe we should use our platforms to reach out to those in need. We could be a virtual shoulder to lean on, if not anything else. Who else is going to help us, if not each other?

To the people who are mourning, grieving, and those who are risking their lives--we are here for you. Thank you for persevering for the rest of us.