This March is unlike any other. I’m sure this March was also unlike any March you have experienced. You’re either A) at home in quarantine, or B) on the frontlines providing necessary services during this uncertain time—I’m looking at you healthcare professionals, food suppliers, super market employees, journalists, etc.
I fall in A. I’m in quarantine. It’s crazy to think that I can make a difference in this pervasive pandemic by doing the simplest thing: staying home, watching Netflix, and sitting on my couch—in my head, it’s nothing, but in the grand scheme of this global crisis; it’s a lot. My social distancing is preventing the further spread of this lethal virus.
When I first heard about COVID-19, I didn’t think much of it. I remember listening to the news every morning, and hearing about Wuhan, China and this thing called coronavirus. As someone far away from East Asia, it seemed harmless. I mean, I’m a college student in Austin, Texas—how would this affect me? However, the more I started thinking about it, the more I realized this was not just a simple illness. China plays such a large role in the way global supply chains operate. Most products I use have interacted with a Chinese supplier at some point or another. I mean, the iPhone I use every day was probably assembled in a Foxconn facility located in China. If there’s a problem in China, then there’s likely a problem for me—because whether we realize it or not China has affected our lives in large ways.
Although Wuhan is just one province, the virus has an immense ability to spread. Spread through China. Spread through Asia. Spread through the world. That virus I continued to hear about on the news, the one that seemed harmless (after all, it was so far away, right?)—it turned out to be so much more. It’s not only a global health pandemic. It’s an economic disaster. It’s something that has killed someone’s grandmother. It’s something that has caused immense unemployment. It’s something that has locked children out of schools, adults out of work, and people out of each other’s lives. It’s created a weird space of time in which life feels unreal; it feels like I’m living my life in a science fiction novel.
So, yes, this March has definitely felt unfamiliar. The month wasn’t always like this, however. My March started pretty normal. I was still in Austin, completing my junior of college, and spending moments trying to explore the city before I graduate next May (!!!). Now, however, I’m back in Dallas, all of my classes have moved online, I no longer have the ability to walk by the University Tower, or visit my professor’s office hours. Life changed in a snap.
All of this has really allowed me to reflect. Reflect on life. I think the biggest thing I’ve realized is that it doesn’t matter who you are, how much money you make, the amount of prestige you possess, the job you have, the people you know, etc.—you are not invincible from something like this. I think in our society, we often put those who appear to have more on a pedestal, but today there’s no dividing line—this virus doesn’t discriminate. You could be a high class actor, a famous politician, or a local teacher—and you could still become infected. On the other end, however, I’ve realized that though the virus doesn’t discriminate, the healthcare system does. Here in the States, those with higher links have more access to world class care and COVID-19 tests (which happen to be limited here). So, although anyone can get this deadly virus, the treatment opportunities are not the same for everyone.
Anyway, I don’t want this post to be all about the virus, even though that seems like the only thing in our lives. March has also been a month of self-growth. I’ve always been incredibly introspective and reflective. Self-growth is really important for me to be a fulfilled individual.
This month, I had a serious conversation with myself. I asked myself what I want from my future. Who I want to be, where I want to go, the people I want in my life, the values I hold, etc. As I have gotten older, I’ve realized that time is moving fast—and so, I need to be aware of how I can build the life I desire.
To end this, I guess, I just need to write how truly grateful I am for everything in my life, Allhumdullilah. Right now, I feel like there’s so much to look forward to—and I’m so hopeful for what’s to come. Sitting in my house in the midst of this global pandemic has really put life into perspective; it’s made me learn and recall all the things that make life so rich—my family, my friends, the experiences, the laughter, the journey, the moments, the opportunities, and the future. All of it.
As you navigate through this uncertain time, I’m praying for you and your health. Until next time, wash your hands and stay safe.