If there’s one word to describe this past month I would say “surreal” would be a good description. Everything feels almost “simulation-like” in a sense and that lingering uncertainty of what’s next and what is yet to come adds to the looming feeling that almost everything that’s happened at rapid speed feels like a dream we’re all waiting to wake up from.
However, rather than staying home, pondering the “what ifs” and the questions as to what brought the world to this moment, I wanted to take this single-moment in time, (that will likely never be something we encounter again, at least in our lifetime), to do something with myself.
A strong believer in grit, I’ve spent the past few months of 2020 keeping a detailed journal of my good and bad days, a list of my resolutions, and reflective entry at the end of each month in an attempt to push myself as I approach the end of my college chapter in life to really challenge myself to improve and grow.
It goes without saying that this past month was a craziest entry I’ve had all year, and looking back I’ve learned more about myself in the past few weeks than ever before.
Here are some things I would tell my past self one month, and some lessons I learned for the future:
- Say your “Thank You’s”:
- It’s easy to go through each day and not think much about the small encounters you have with your professors, your best friend, or the random stranger who holds the door open for you. Social interaction has never been so valuable and in a time where distance is of the upmost importance, the value of a simple “Thank You” has never been so important, especially when you don’t know when or if you’ll see someone again and what they’re going through now.
- Change is uncontrollable, but not how you respond to it:
- How unpredictable life can be has never been more clear, and feeling lost is totally justifiable in a moment in time where history is being made. I’ll admit, the first week as the world shifted into toilet paper hoarding chaos and national lockdowns was definitely overwhelming and felt like I was in a chaotic nightmare. But reflecting now, something that I learned about myself was the importance of searching for the calm in the storm – be it keeping a daily routine or re-starting an old hobby to find some control in my own life – to decrease contributing or falling for the chaos outside.
- Goals don’t have the big to be impactful:
- “Stir-crazy “is an understatement for how many people worldwide are feeling right now, and for restless like myself, not being able to reach the full extent of what I want to do or accomplish can feel draining. However, your mindset matters whether you’re in the classroom, the office, or in your own bedroom. From making daily tasks (like cleaning my bathroom, organizing my stationary, or reading a few chapters of a book), to setting crazy goals for the day going grocery shopping will feel normal again, has kept me feeling sane. Sometimes, making the goal just “call mom daily” can feel just as good as reaching a larger goal.
- There are times you CAN be selfish, this is NOT the time.
- Sometimes kindness is the easiest thing to do for another person, but the hardest thing for you to realize.
- Call your friends, your family, and the person you think of at the end of this post:
- The harshest reality of this disease is that it has no end – no end to who, where, or when it can impact you, your neighbor, or even the person delivering your groceries. Take a moment to catch up and calm each other down. Nothing is more soothing than hearing your grandma still offer to make you food when you call in to check on her.
While the future is uncertain and the feeling of being closed-in can be draining, the one thing I’ve learned more than anything is that my contribution to the chaos matters. If there’s anything I can and SHOULD do on my part is to stay calm and manage myself to stay busy, stay indoors, and do anything in my power to make it easier for the thousands of grocery store, health care, and so so many other essential workers out in the world fighting for the rest of us fortunate enough to feel stir-crazy.
Of course, no one person is the same in managing how they handle such a massive change to every person’s life, but I’m confident we each have it in ourselves to get through this.