Over the last year, I have learned and observed so much about myself and mostly others. We all sometimes need to slow down and reflect upon our lives and our goals, but I was almost shocked to see how people reacted to being told “slow down.”
Last March, no one had any idea of how serious the issues of COVID-19 would be or even how long any of this madness would last. As I reflect upon the last twelve month of my own time living in “lockdown,” I am refreshed by my growth yet left perplexed by others’ decisions.
In theory, if we all would have taken those two weeks of initial “lockdown” seriously- no contact, no activities, no travel- we wouldn’t be in the place America is in today, reaching a surging number of almost 30 million cases with over 500 thousand deaths. Those numbers alone should never have been met and also should have been enough for people to really be mindful of themselves and their impact on others… but I have discovered that is not the case.
As someone who has had to live under strict quarantine due to a compromised immune system and health issues, I view COVID-19 differently than most college aged people and people in general. I can count how many times I have been to Target on one hand in the last year, and as someone who used to frequent Target sometimes multiple times per week, life for me has drastically changed. But, I also wouldn’t say I am entirely mad about it. I am frustrated and fatigued that I cannot just go out and see friends, eat at restaurants, travel to wherever I want or simply just go to any store for fun… but I do appreciate having more time to myself for meaningful self growth and reflection.
I have learned that “taking” a break from all the hustle and bustle of what we traditionally think we must be doing is okay. Sometimes a good recharge is needed to get to the next steps of whatever my life might lead to. Taking the time to adequately plan is something I have enjoyed spending time on, whether that be as simple as ordering groceries or taking a daily walk. I am content with where I am and have enjoyed my time pondering endless thoughts about what I want to do with my life, what is worthy of my time and how I can impact a greater cause later down the road. I have also learned and observed that many of my peers and adults I thought were wise, have not chosen to be mindful of the disease and have not taken this time to slow down. In fact, they have chosen to continue their daily routines as if nothing is happening at all and as if their actions have no implications on them or society. It confounds me that some people just cannot be told what to do out of protection for their own safety and for others. People’s true colors have been put to the test this past year, and unfortunately I’d have to say many people are not treading on positive outcomes when it comes to abiding by guidelines and making cognizant choices.
I am proud to say I am doing my part in limiting exposure and reducing any risk of transmission and I wish others would too in order to return to the “normal” life we all are craving. It feels wrong to see so many careless people continuing to travel cross country and meet in large groups during this unprecedented time, but hopefully those very people have learned a valuable lesson from their inability to slow down just for a short period of time.
My greatest takeaway from my year pretty much spent between the confines of my room and my own mind is that some of our best thoughts and ideas can be derived without inspiration or influence from the outside world. Whether some of us have been labeled “essential workers” or not, we all have/had the ability to take this past year and make it essentially important to the growth within us.