June 2, 2020

Looking at Life In a New Light: What lies beyond COVID-19.

It seems like there is no end to this.

The horizon, first near and distinct, now seems far away and blurry. COVID-19—this dark, disturbing cloud, stretching out into the open sky has us on the edge of our very couches, in anticipation of that small ray of sunshine to infiltrate the gloom and light up our day.

We were happy; going off to work or school in the early morning, taking our dogs to the park, shopping with a friend, turning down a social meet on a Sunday to kick back and read a book, jogging down the lane to Childish Gambino. A life of our own with a routine that seemed to go on and on—blending into the concepts of space and time. It was tedious, befuddling, and messy, but it was ours.

A dismal and melancholic tremor knocked us off our feet and left us trembling in its wake. Disrupting our day-to-day lives, our protests of working a 9-to-5, of dolling up for an event, our grasp of reality slowly slipped away from us like sand between our fingers, and that little something that was once the source of our hope and purpose, our ikigai, shrank to the shadows.

I ask you this: Can we not hit the brakes and try to see what lies beyond COVID-19? Can we take pleasure in living in this moment—an opportunity for us to reconnect with ourselves?

When we break out of this pandemic, there will undoubtedly be aspects of our lives that will never be the same again. The good old times will now cease to be exactly how you left them. In this time of despair, maybe we will grow more appreciative of the friends we once pegged as clingy and see them as caring and affectionate, and we will probably never want to miss movie nights with the gang.

This awakening calls for us to filter our thoughts, reflect on those closest to us, check up on them and their well-being and start afresh with renewed vigour and spirit. Life gets us down in the bog sometimes, but it doesn’t always stay that way. Things get better and even if they don’t go back to how they were before—it happens for a reason. Through it all we learn to grow, become resilient, and we start to focus inward on the often neglected inner self, and on our mental health .

It will take time for this harrowing wave to recede, but in the meantime, we can make getting back to our life easier by looking at COVID-19 in a new light and moving onward. Let’s not spiral down that rabbit hole we’ve fallen into. Let’s try and clamber our way upward until we see the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s alright if we don’t see the speck of radiance just yet, but it is there. It will always be there—waiting for us to resurface and soak it up. All we need to do, all there’s left to dois take a leap of faith.

Everything will be different. But this new normal will be worth saving. It’s something we cannot control, change, postpone, or avoid—but one we will have to embrace. It is a natural way of things, of humankind, to restore peace and order and bring homeostasis. But “restoration” doesn’t inherently suggest things turning back to how they were, to normal. Instead, we can accept the change and make it our reformed normal.

That’s what we can control and not how we wish things would just stay. The economy, humanity, and nature will have to pick up the broken pieces and settle into a new pattern. Only then, once all is pieced together, can we begin our journey of healing, of mending our aching hearts and muddled minds.

From where we stand now it seems like it’s turtles all the way down, but even when we are facing a major setback, the only way out of this rock bottom is up. So let’s anchor in hope, and look forward to that time when we will meet our besties for coffee, go bowling on the weekend, or get hyped for a Marvel movie hitting the theatres, and think thrice before we turn down any opportunity for a social outing.

These things will be different after we surf this fierce and petrifying tide, but the fact that we will be alive to rejoice in the glory of it all, change our perspective toward things and drink in every little detail which went unnoticed before, is manna enough.

~ Raku areba raku ari (where there is joy, there is pain).

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