Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have caught myself thinking how happy would I be when all of it is over. When the world gets back to the usual way of things, the way, they used to be before 2020. What a life would that be!
Still, somewhere deep in my mind, I always knew that I was lying to myself. First of all, I wasn’t happy before the pandemic! Secondly, I won’t miraculously become happier just because Covid-19 is not there anymore. None of us will. I mean, how can you even be happy when more than a million people died?
But I still believe that I can be a different (perhaps, even better) version of myself after the pandemic. A version that dared to live life regardless of all the adversities.
True, there were days during this year when I felt down, days when I was depressed, and days when I thought I was going crazy.
There were days when I found myself in the middle of a dystopian drama.
There were days when I didn’t know if I was scared or disgusted by what others did.
Surprisingly, there were also days when I felt normal. Days when it seemed that the end is near (mid-July in Germany was a fairytale compared to the spring months) and that the pandemic was just a stupid mistake that’d never actually happened.
Now, when the situation is again getting out of control, many of us feel tired, annoyed, and even scared. What, again?! How long will it last? Why is there still no vaccine? Why?
Some say it’s going to be a tough winter. Some say it will be the last winter without a working vaccine. Some still say Covid-19 is a hoax (“I’m not sick, and I don’t know anyone who is sick”). Some say they want to live normal lives. Some say they are tired and tired and tired…
I say I don’t care.
Don’t get me wrong. I care about many things.
I care about people who have compromised immune systems. I care about older people and people with no access to quality health care. I care about lost jobs and falling economics. I care about families ruined by the pandemic. I care about everyone who was hit or who is hit by everything that’s happening. I care about these things, I do.
But I don’t care about the effect the bloody situation has already had and can still have on me. Namely, I decided that:
- I don’t care that I am stuck in one place.
- I don’t care that my wife and I were planning to divorce when the pandemic hit and had to spend another nine months together (she was planning to fly to another country, I was planning to stay where I was).
- I don’t care that I lost one year of my life and did not make many new friends.
- I don’t care that life has become unpredictable (because, honestly, it always was).
- I don’t even care that I used to care about such things!
Why do I not care anymore? Because I realized that while I keep on winding myself about these topics, the actual life is slipping away. It’s slipping away from me because I choose not to live that life, no matter how hard and difficult it is. Because I chose to hide from it for the sake of a bright future.
Indeed, I spent most of the year in some hibernation. I was going to work, playing with my kid, meeting with friends, and even traveling to relatively safe regions. Still, I was never present in the moment. My thoughts were always fixed on the future.
What comes after the pandemic? Will it end next year maybe? Do I hate my life? Yeah, I probably do…
Now I understand how stupid it was. It was stupid because no matter how hard this year was for me and everyone else, I was alive every single day.
Both of my parents got Covid-19 and recovered. My uncle got Covid-19 and did not make it. Thousands of people have died. I don’t know if I had or have Covid-19. My friends are healthy and still have their jobs.
So why am I so concerned about the future? Why have I forgotten that there is no such thing as the future? There is only now.
Moreover, there will never be a future if we chose not to live the present. Right now is the best time for many of us to remember that life is actually happening now.
Does it mean we should forget about safety? No. Does it mean we should neglect the doctors’ advice on keeping a safe distance and wearing a mask? By no means!
It simply means we should accept our life the way it is.
No matter how ugly or stupid or tiring it is. No matter how many more days, we need to be bored or scared—no matter when will this end. We still can do a lot, from reading self-development books to meditation to having mindful conversations with relatives and friends to simply doing nothing and enjoying nature. And it doesn’t matter that you can’t travel to a different hemisphere!
What matters is this is our life right now.
What also matters is that sooner or later, the pandemic will be over. And it’s up to you if you come out of it a better version of yourself because you decided to accept your life (and wear a mask!) or if you come out the “early-2020” (but more scared) version of yourself.
Wouldn’t that be a waste of time?