What COVID–19 made me UNLEARN?

The pandemic is outstretched and touched every country around the world. We have experienced a never before way of life.Governments had declared lockdowns to contain the spread of the virus.Even though,the lockdown is being lifted with certain restrictions,we prefer being indoors–since that's the best way to stay safe and no cure for the virus has been found. For me, staying indoors seemed quite alien.Hustling through each day, meeting deadlines,meeting clients- was how my everyday looked. Weekends were generally spent running household errands,spending time with family,meeting friends, movie dates, weekend trips etc. The organization I work for didn't have a Work From Home ('WFH') policy. Working remotely didn't seem to be an option until we were forced to do so. With the lockdown first being imposed for three weeks, it seemed to be fun!Like yes, WFH was happening - until reality hit! Due the lockdown,everybody (the entire family)was confined at home, movements restricted (we were allowed to leave home only for essentials). So now, 24X7 we were imprisoned within our homes–doing the household chores, fulfilling office duties, exercising, watching TV series, taking instagram challenges! Slowly, three weeks turned into months . Despite the lockdown, the number of corona cases were on a rise & extending the lockdown wasn't an option. The effects of the lockdown were visible–people were loosing their jobs & unemployment was on a rise, the lower income group were hard pressed for essentials & above all the economy was crippling. On a personal front, WFH was becoming daunting. Extended work hours, unending household chores, depressing news only lead to increased stress and anxiety. Phew! Now we were tired. So many questions and no answers - When and how would all this get over?Will it even get over ?Would WFH be the new normal?When would we travel? I could feel a silent pressure building on me & had begun to overthink. With nowhere to go & so much to do–I realised all that I could do is to to make peace with the situation and live everyday & let go of what I couldn't change. Letting go for me was a big challenge But yes, it had to be done. But how? Firstly,I had to change my way of thinking and let go of how situations should be and accept how they are.I had to be right here in the present moment.But again, how do I do that? I started reading to look for answers.Here's what I found: 1.Happiness isn't something you find outside yourself but within yourself, create for yourself. We humans confuse material things with happiness – “Oh! I'll be happy if I travel to Spain next summer” or “eating pizza in that restaurant makes me really happy” and the list can be endless.Happiness isn't the byproduct of something,if something/someone is the basis of your happiness,you'd never be happy.Embrace whatever you have – like it is a gift to you. 2.Get up in morning,get ready, not to impress anybody else, but yourself. Give yourself the credit for your little achievements. Don't seek validation from anybody.You are your first priority & your best friend & worst enemy. 3.Enjoy the little things you do with your family–eating meals together, grocery shopping, cleaning the house, cooking etc. Having somebody to rely on and confide in is a blessing. 4.Exercise everyday, take care of yourself, eat healthy and nutritious food. Attend to yourself religiously, like you would attend to your family, friends, work. 5.There is a positive in everything that happens. Respond to situations and not react. Being nice to people when they are rude to you is strength and not weakness. How did I imbibe what I learnt– 1.I try to contribute & support with the household chores and errands to the extent possible. Many times,I don't feel like doing these, but, the mind needs to be persuaded. 2.I miss eating outside–but I'm grateful for food on my table & I have never missed a meal. 3.Disagreements within the family will always happen since everyone has a different perception of things. But we need to respect each others decision and live in harmony. 4.With a drop in pollution levels, nature is at it's best.Birds are chirping and the skies are clear. The empty roads with trees alongside and colorful flowers scattered were a sight to behold. COVID taught us–when humans disrespect nature, nature will surely come back to us & there isn't a better testimony to it. 5.With unemployment levels rising, I'm grateful for having a job. Given an opportunity to work,is a privilege and not to be taken for granted. These are but small things and we don't need a pandemic to learn them. Happiness comes in simpler things.Unlearning old ways to isn't easy – but once life lessons are learnt,these are here to stay forever. To quote Albert Einstein “In the midst of every crises, lies great opportunity.” Human spirit is indomitable & in times of crises we rise to the occasion and bounce back with renewed vigor & better wisdom.

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William

artist, musician, writer, Luddite

Troy, United States