It’s been a year and a few months since the outbreak of COVID transformed our lives. At first, I didn’t understand this virus’s serious ramifications because it was only a faint whisper in our country. Much has changed since the first months of 2020. By the end of last year, the shadow of coping dogged the new normalcy. What we wanted or thought we wanted needed re-examination. For most, craving socialization, to the simplest gesture like a hug, became an agonizing wait and sour pill to continually digest.
ABUNDANCE AND JOY
I’ve often wondered, especially since COVID: What is the secret to living longer? It had to be more than healthy eating, exercise, wearing masks, and social distancing. And did I have any regrets?
By the time we realized it, unfinished projects or the awareness of how bored and socially lonely we were, became a definition of who we had become.
For myself, it’s been floating somewhere between yesterday and tomorrow. Plans made were in pencil, and the necessity to put opportunities and new adventures on hold.
My philosophy professor’s words have stayed with me long after taking the class. They’ve been five stones, stacked in the course of my life, as meditational focal points:
“I wish I’d dared to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
“I wish I hadn’t worked so hard and missed the important things.”
“I wish I had ventured to express my feelings and not be afraid of rejection.”
“I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends during those times when we disagreed.”
“I wish I had let myself be happier and knew today was the start of the rest of my life.”
It’s crucial to believe humanity can defeat COVID like any other pandemic. We have the technology, but we also need the reflection on how to survive with the most incredible amount of clarity.
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Annie Dillard.
There have been plagues, wars, and other natural events that have impacted populations throughout human history. The majority of the 7,874,965,825 plus inhabits of the earth today, who are marking 3 million deaths and counting from CoVID-19, will remember this period. The strong among us will build on this experience and prepare for the future. The troubled among us will crave for the past. However, time does not flow backward!
As it’s been said, history repeats itself, so we can expect more future pandemics. I’d like to believe mankind will continue advancing to create a stronger line of defense. The people who have lost their lives, make me aware how precious life is, and what is, and not important.
The line that jumps out at me here, having seen something similar on an acquaintance’s “Story” today, is “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard and missed the important things!” Having been taught “workaholism” by my mother, who held down 4 bookkeeping jobs to keep her 4 kids afloat as a single mother, it’s a hard habit to break. Especially, during COVID when keeping busy takes my mind off the horrors of 3 million people dying because of it, especially if I’m writing about the beauty of architecture and interior design. But always, within the beauty are the untold stories that I cannot write about for public consumption that make the REAL stories so humanly complex, because I must allow the beauty to temporarily blind us from the tragedy that provoked the story’s unblemished surface. But then, you, Cheryl, are the very one to write about the hidden fabric of life, often gritty and difficult to “watch.” Brava for that and your fortitude in doing so. I just pray I won’t be like my late brother who returned from the other side to say he wished he’d spent more time with his children instead of working around the clock. Keep up the good work! Much love!
Donna, your words have cut deep into my emotions. You have responded to what I wanted to convey. To add, I’d like to believe we are not the sum of what we are did yesterday, but the whole of what we gather as our future. This pandemic is with us, and to live and survive, we need to realize this time is only one of the many tests we will pass or fail before we die. I look at what I didn’t do, and hope, the lessons are learned to make me a better person, who failed along the way.
What a wakeup call this has been for us… not only CoVid19 but racial tension, police brutality, hunger, homelessness… you name it. It just reminds those of us that are blessed with and without some of these issues, that we only have one life… and we have to make the best of it. One way is blessing others, if we can…if nothing but a smile (believe it or not, you can still recognize a smile or nod, with a mask on) Just stay thankful and try and help others, when you can!
Edythe, thank you for your insight. To add, we are not just living in a pandemic, but also in a time, when each day’s baggage makes life a heavy burden. I believe if we remove pieces of the weight, we can travel a longer distance. Kindness and empathy, plus a self-evaluation are some aspects for a journey of less regrets.