Veera is a published Author (‘Endured’ and ‘#LoveBitesLifeHacks’) and Columnist; a passionate Educator and Counsellor; Poet and Philosopher… but most of all, a lover of all things literary.
Sitting, waiting, while days rolled into weeks and gradually into months, we’ve all had time on our hands during this lockdown to understand how fragile every aspect of our existence really is. A lot has changed in the last few months; a lot will continue to change well into the future. A time of learning, a time of growing – this has singularly been a period of resetting our priorities, revisiting our preferences and realigning our finances.
The pandemic has affected us in unimaginable ways. We all know someone who has been exposed to the virus or has contracted the illness, some mildly and others in life-threatening ways. To watch the news and see how the virus is spreading worldwide and even more so, to live with it in our own backyard, is frightening enough. The economic fallout has affected us all too. We have so many friends and colleagues laid off or losing jobs and unemployment seems only to be on the rise. Then we have our children facing their own demons – re-adjusting their lives with online schooling, playing indoors, with no play-dates on the horizon.
The corona virus has taken countless treasured experiences from the youth such as companionship, friendships, athletics, music and drama performances, proms and commencement ceremonies. We have experienced panic, loss, isolation, boredom and fear. While practically it has created a keen awareness of health and hygiene, it has elevated our sense of maturity as well. We are cooped up in our homes, isolated, socially deprived, all the while praying for a sign, some hope. Maybe a headline stating we are almost on the brink of a possible vaccine, a plateau of the pandemic curve or a bruised economy finally healing. We are all assailed with feelings of frustration and helplessness especially when the medical experts say, “Life, at present, for all of us, should be dictated by the virus and not the other way around.” It seems that the light at the end of the tunnel is a long way coming! So how can we not help feel anything but despair knowing that this pandemic is getting exponentially worse before it gets better?
We, as a society, were remarkably self-absorbed and self-assured. Think about it – much of how we lived our lives before this point included a ton of social media, some of us keeping up with the Jones’, having a false sense of financial security and health invincibility! We were travelling so much, living it up till Mother Earth got us all to a grinding halt! Sometimes, despite the pain, you say kudos to her. Now our only maxim in the last couple of months is, ‘stay safe and stay sane’.
‘Hang in there buddy, this too shall pass,’ – we keep telling ourselves. Truth is, while we are missing out on a lot outside, we have been handed a God-given opportunity to catch up on the inside! In the months of introspection, a lot of us have realised some Life Lessons to be learnt here. Simple but fundamental truths that can hold us in good stead perhaps even post a Corona-free world:
Health And Wellness Above All Else: Covid has redefined our view on health and fitness. For those who took your health or access to medication for granted, this time has proven to be a ringing wakeup call! We are paying a lot more attention and understanding the importance of developing healthy habits and a generally healthier lifestyle. Taking care of ourselves body, mind and spirit has become a priority. Many use online platforms to meditate, workout, learn new skills. Keeping physically fit and mentally challenged seems to be the order of the day. If there is one thing you can control in a crisis, it’s how you use information!
We Need To Co-Exist With Our Planet: Perhaps the most important lesson ever, and one we need to remember for all times, is that the planet doesn’t need us – we need it! We need to start respecting, appreciating and acknowledging the fact that our planet is permanent; we, on the other hand are mere renters! Our lease on life is short-lived, temporary. Respect the ground you are planted on. Leave this holy ground improved for future generations to enjoy.
Prioritizing Relationships: An important take away, this is our time to repair and improve our interpersonal relationships, to appreciate friends and family surrounding you and the ones connected to you. The people closest to you deserve your time and attention; the ones away need to know you are thinking of them. This time has served to re-forge relationships from the past, only to carry them renewed into the future. Find your people, your loved ones and use this time to strengthen the bonds you already have.
Importance Of Saving And An Emergency Fund: With unemployment, job cuts and salary cuts, we have realised the importance of saving for a rainy day! This could perhaps be the longest rainy period ever! Never before have we realised the importance of having a nest–egg to tide us in these lean times. One has to have at least about 3-6 months’ worth of living expense put away as a cushion. If you’ve lost your job or need some time to transition between jobs, that buffer would have served you well. This economic slump will leave permanent scars on our spending and saving. You neither want to be strapped for cash nor bankroll your children into a crisis.
Saying Goodbye To The Age Of Consumerism: We realize that we don’t really need to spend as much as we used to. We were in the fast lane, we shopped and lived on things we thought were essential or added to our lives. Under the lockdown, we have gained a new perspective on many things. Hopefully, this period has shown us that we really don’t need much to be happy – what we have is good enough, and we need to be thankful for it! Those things we earlier thought indispensable – those sunglasses, shoes and handbags – are hardly handy anymore! Now we are living it up in sweats, a couple of comfy Tees, a lot of sanitizer and a lot less disrespect for our hard earned money!
Let’s Slow Down: We live in a world that is on the go constantly. It’s a rat race no matter where you are. We are constantly under pressure to be productive, compete and be better to be successful. This is ingrained into our psyche – to attain success you need to push at all times. We were overworked, underpaid and burned-out in the quest of successful careers and the dream of a perfect life. We had lost out on the work-life balance a long time ago. We needed this time now to apprehend the enormity of slowing down. Living day to day, in the moment, has proved to be a conscious entry into this new chapter in our lives. Maybe now we’ll learn to really live in the present without excessively worrying about the future. After all, ‘Enjoying life is enjoying the moment!’
When All Fails, Live On Hope: What the crisis has taught us is to live on hope. Today, afflicted globally, the whole world is clinging to Hope. Hope is the expectation of recovery, the confidence of that vaccine, the faith of a more unified, empathetic world. If there is one thing that is keeping us afloat and sane, it’s the hope that we are almost on the brink of that cure which could ease our lives back into some flow of normalcy. Human hope has always been the one thing that keeps any possibility alive. These times have indeed taught us: ‘Hope is the only thing stronger than fear’!
Yes, Covid-19 happened in an instant. It cleared calendars, shuttered venues, and exhausted entire segments of local and national economies. But, in the midst of all that chaos, we learnt calm. We learnt never to take things for granted!