What The Pandemic Has Taught Me
Is it wrong to think that some good things came from the pandemic? Is this a fool’s errand to try and be optimistic during such troubling times? I think that this past year has presented myself, along with many others, a harsh truth.
A friend and I are both possibly moving to Indonesia in the fall to teach English. This is a major life changing decision, so why am I deciding to do it now? The past year and a half has been a majorly unsettling year as we faced a global pandemic. It has been full of chaos and people being unsure of the future. People responded to the pressure in different ways. For me, it has created a sense of urgency. I call it the Pandemic Crisis.
For example, there has been a surplus of engagements this past year. You can call it the “pandemic engagement” or “love that spurred from the great coronavirus outbreak of 2020” (though that one is a bit lengthier and less likely to stick.) Whatever you call it, it is real, and you may find yourself reminiscing about 2020 whenever you receive an invitation from your friends about a 50-year wedding anniversary party in 2071. There was a survey conducted by Brides.com that surveyed over 1,400 American newlyweds of varying races, ages, income brackets, geographical locations, and sexual orientations. According to the survey, four in five couples or 82% reported that living through the pandemic has actually made them want to marry their significant other even more!
I think one of the first things that truly gets reevaluated are relationships. I mentioned the recent spike in engagements. However, it could also go the other way. The pandemic has taught others that maybe it is time the relationship should come to an end. In a recent study done by Match.com on about 5,000 singles across the nation, around 26% of singles broke up during the stay-at-home orders.
I think that the pandemic either strengthened your relationship or it weakened it. It is up to you to honestly evaluate how your own relationship is going. Stressful times such as this pandemic is a good indicator test on how you get through hard times with each other. I’m not sure about you, but something that helps me with stressful times are puppies!
The local puppy zone here in East Tennessee ran out of puppies just the other week when I went in to do my monthly visit to destress and play with them.
I am very happy the puppies found a home but selfishly I was incredibly sad on this day. The manager told me that everyone used their stimulus checks to buy the puppies. Crazy times spurs crazy changes, or in this case, cute changes. Even if you do not have the time or money to buy a puppy, find a local place with your favorite furry friends and unwind for a bit! If you do not have a local place like this, it might be time to join the other 22% of the U.S. and move to a new place!
A large chunk of people claimed that they moved to reduce their chance of getting coronavirus. A lot of people are now working from home and moving away from commuting distance. Some people want more space or simply have grown bored after being shackled to their plague bunker for the past year. Seriously, homes can feel more like prisons if you cannot enjoy the outside world every now and then. Others may find themselves changing residency because of a new job!
Though the past year has been hard, there have been some good things to come out of it. For example, this has been a great opportunity for people to make career changes. According to a recent MetLife study from metlife.com, amidst “10,000 U.S. adults between the ages of 18-65; roughly 1 in 4 women are now considering a career change as a direct result of the pandemic.” People are realizing what makes them happy or not at their current jobs. A great deal of people want new jobs that allow them more time to spend with their families. A lot of people are realizing that they are not passionate about their jobs anymore. Priorities become clearer when a pandemic gives you the time to reflect. Whether you are unhappy with your current job or maybe you have been laid off due to the pandemic, there is no better time to reevaluate what makes you happy and strive for that each and every day, even if it is a new career path! This pandemic has caused some stressful times, and anxiety and depression have increased heavily during this past year. According to a Household Pulse Survey done by PsychiatryAdvisor.com, symptoms of anxiety rose from 36.4% to 41.5%, and the most common increases came from the ages of 18-29. The rise of people going through a stressful situation such as financial insecurity or family loss or other types of trauma proves that this pandemic has been a key trigger in worsening symptoms of anxiety and depression in individuals. What has helped me is sticking to a routine. Routines may look different for everyone. A routine that includes a good night’s rest, time to exercise, time to eat, and time to unwind and relax seems to be helping me with my stress. Find a routine that works for you!
Covid-19 has seemed to put a lasting impression on everyone. It has created this aforementioned Pandemic Crisis. Everyone seems to be taking big new steps with their lives. People finally have the time to sit and think about their values and their relationships and their dreams and what truly matters the most. There is a big realization that life is short, and people are starting to reevaluate their lives and options moving forward.
The clock is ticking. The first step is spending time with your family and remembering the important things in life. I’ve had to witness one of my very own family members pass away due to the very real consequences of coronavirus. On a brighter side, I also became an uncle this past year to a beautiful baby boy! All of us have seen many hardships and blessings when it comes to our families. Personally, this pandemic (along with the new baby) has given me an opportunity to grow closer than ever to my family. Enjoy the little things and take the time to visit a loved one this week!
The second step is to reach out to your younger and older self. A question I love asking others is this: if you could talk to the younger or older version of you, which would you choose? In this case, I say choose both! Ask yourself if this former person would be proud of who you became. If the answer to that question is no, then there’s no better time than right now to fix that! Next, try and see yourself in the future based on the path you’re currently on. Do you like what you see? I know it’s impossible to predict the future and dreams and goals can change. Just make sure you are making yourself as proud as you can!
Change might be scary at first, but it does not have to be bad. Change is inevitable, so try not to run from it. Embrace it instead. Take time to think about your next steps. Sometimes we like to make big life altering decisions based on our emotions at the time. Take time to evaluate what the next big step is for you! Make a planned decision that includes input from the important people of your life. We cannot predict the future and what all will happen.