10 things the new pandemic has taught us so far.
As our long winter melts into spring and while most of the world has come to believe that epidemics are a thing of the past, we find ourselves in the midst of a noxious pandemic that has substantially shaken up planet earth. Homebound day 9 found me highly nostalgic and un-scheduling all the things that I have planned for this time of the year. Despite the fact that a few weeks ago my calendar appeared to be fully booked from end of February to beginning of June, suddenly the only thing pending in my schedule is my orthodontist appointment in mid-May.
Days are still getting longer regardless, and every now and then you can actually even see birds flying outside your window. Miracles come in moments, and the most incredible thing about them is that they happen. While I was having my usual afternoon tea & biscuits ritual earlier today, the thought struck me. Sooner than later this whole situation will hopefully be over and along with it, all the wise things that it has taught us, will be forgotten. It's in our human nature to forget; we are programmed that way. So I thought it would be appropriate to note down all the small lessons learned. Besides learning how to properly wash our hands and greeting each other with an elbow bump the new pandemic has taught us a few more things:
Lesson 1: The most valuable lessons aren't taught. They are experienced. True!
Lesson 2: Never take for granted what you have today, whether this is a meal, a paper roll, the freedom of movement, or a person you love. Instead, learn to appreciate what you have and be grateful for today and for everything life is gracefully offering you. You don't know what tomorrow may bring. Small things that we take as given today, may be the things we lack tomorrow.
Lesson 3: In challenges like these, of a global scale, equality is given. Being a highly contagious respiratory disease, COVID-19 poses a threat to everyone and in every society. The speed in which it's been spreading for the past weeks works as a reminder that there are no borders between nations, nor poor or rich, left or right, male or female, but vulnerable people and even this is questionable. We, human, are all equally 'sacrificed on the altar of the pandemic'.
Lesson 4: British philosopher Bertrand Russell once claimed: 'The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation, and the first step towards cooperation lies in the hearts of individuals'. This evening at 8 o'clock we applauded for all carers and for their hard work against the virus. No words can describe the emotions felt within those few minutes. Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success. And the pandemic is teaching us that if we don't work together, there is no end to this abyss. Our ancestors were asked to fight for their freedom, we are only asked to stay in! It is as simple as that. The least we can do for the greater good is to show adequate respect towards the people that fight day and night the deadly virus; patients and carers.
Lesson 5: From youngest to oldest, most of us are by now experts on high-tech methods and the necessary software for working remotely, and are currently working towards perfecting WFH. Something to keep for future consideration, whenever the outbreak ends and we will all coincidentally want to visit our families but won't have enough holiday left, we've got another one in our pocket of excuses.
Lesson 6: Social-distancing and homebound has helped a good amount of people to rethink the idea of 'being-at-home'. From reconnecting with loved ones, to re-ignate their love for cooking, re-visit Jigsaw puzzling, to gardening and plant care. If you want to have a look at all the creative things one can do while social distancing click here.
Lesson 7: Talking to family and friends has not felt this good for many-many years. From checking out how everyone is, emotionally and mentally supporting the most vulnerable ones and digitally hanging out with your besties, it suddenly feels like it's The time to be there for each and everyone of them. It is proven, even though slightly sad, that people tend to turn to people during the most difficult times, and going through the worst is what brings people together stronger.
Lesson 8: In Cyprus -where I am from- people were asked to self-isolate since day 1 / case 1. The whole country immediately fell under a mass lockdown and the government offered to financially support its people. In warm countries like Cyprus, people wait for heatwaves to strike in order to hit the beaches. They claim it's too cold. When people were asked to stay in however, they all rushed to the beach. People rarely appreciate nature, truly. They know however that nature is our refuge, yet one of the things we usually take for granted. I am seriously missing some vitamin D right now, and it's only been 8 days.
Lesson 9: Being with oneself. I know I haven't truly being alone during this time, but I have loved ones that happen to be self-isolating for weeks. Although, I have existed alone in the past and I know that one of the biggest life challenges for someone is to learn to be with oneself, and to be with that oneself alone and happy. Stay strong, people!
Lesson 10: Last but not least, the pandemic has made it more clear than ever: we cannot live without Internet. It's official! We can't communicate. We can't get essentials without risking our lives. We can't see our loved ones. We can't work from home. We can't get informed about the latest news. We can't keep ourselves entertained. Our hands are tied without internet. Believe me when I say, the worse pandemic will be the end of Internet.
Down to the last sip of my tea, I am summing up my thoughts. The virus will eventually be gone, and we will all get on with our lives, return to work and keep living as if nothing has ever happened. But paraphrasing Haruki Murakami's words, ultimately no matter how much suffering we will all go through, we will not want to let go of these memories, never.