The state of the world currently has changed just about every facet of our lives. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, I am talking about COVID. But is COVID really the worst thing that could have happened to the world? I do not think so.
Like many others, the pandemic affected me on multiple levels; I was forced out of a job I loved, lost a woman I loved, was challenged financially, emotionally, and spiritually; my parents were getting separated and I went through a period where I semi-seriously asked myself what my life had amounted too. I ideally hit rock bottom on just about every measure you could validate my existence with. There I was, 28, no job, single, parents all fucked up and turning to me for advice on how to best leave the other—all this in the midst of barely being allowed to leave my crappy apartment and a new virus on my doorstep.
My situation isn’t unique. Maybe the pandemic hit harder for some people, maybe not; but it has affected all of us to some extent.
The pandemic felt like the final nail in the tiny little coffin I had been building myself for a while; but it wasn’t. It turns out to have been the key that helped set me free.
For the better or worse, COVID helped me do the thing I never really did: slow down and breathe.
I was jobless, single, and couldn’t leave my house for very much other than fresh air. There wasn’t much for me to do but think and look to keep myself busy.
When the first wave of depression passed and I had enough time to move past my initial breakup and the fact I had just lost my job, money, and “family”, I realized that I was more free than I had ever been; I could do anything I wanted.
The first thing I did was create the website you are reading this on. It kept me busy and made me feel relevant at a time I thought I wasn’t and it was just fun for me.
When that was done, I started talking to old friends and acquaintances, having video chats, and really connecting with people. I started going on random walks with a friend that I had never really considered before; she became a person I really respect and a close friend.
I reached out for job opportunities I didn’t think I would get or even qualify for just because I was desperate for money. I was shocked at the response and positive feedback. I don’t love my job, but it brings me much closer to my dream and I am glad I took a chance and applied.
Like most people, I am working and studying from home, and that is a big challenge for someone with anxiety. It is very difficult to keep a level head each day and stay positive, but by breathing you can hopefully make it through too.
I started to meet new people and put myself out there. I dated so much that my friends were telling me to stop. I double booked multiple times (not proud of that one), but I met some really incredible people and had some very note worthy experiences that I will remember for a long time. I really just needed to let go (still have some work to do here, but almost).
I visited family each time I could, I went to see friends, traveled, discovered new sports that I love and practice regularly, and just took the time to figure out what it meant to be me and alive. I am still very busy today, but over a few months, I learned to let go and take control. I got a glimpse of what life is like if you learn to slow down.
We all need to breathe.
My situation is not unique. Many friends I talk too have said similar things. My good friend left her relationship of 7 years, left the house they had just bought, and lost her job on the eve of her 30th birthday. By most social measures, she had failed. But she didn’t see it that way.
She took the good with the bad. She travelled with a friend for months, spent her 30th in Greece with another friend, started her own company, and took the time to rediscover herself and what she actually wanted; she took the time to breath.
We all need to breathe.
COVID is terrible. Lives have been lost, businesses closed, people panicked and separated. But if I chose to keep looking at the darkness of it all, I would probably not be here today. Today, I choose to say that COVID isn’t the worst thing that could happen to the world; not learning to slow down is.
Maybe, just maybe, someone else learnt that it is okay to slow down and breathe, and maybe, that can save their lives.