Five, four, three, two, one! Happy new year! When that crystal ball dropped on the new year’s day, I didn’t know my life would turn upside down. I had my hopes and dreams expecting the new year to be amazingly adventurous. Little did I know, 2020 had an entirely different plan for me. Living in the reality with pandemic was extremely frustrating and foreign to me. I thought this year was going to be the worst year for me but here are four interesting ways I changed since the quarantine/new reality started that made me think maybe it isn’t the worst after all:
1. I was in a grief mode.
When quarantine started, I quickly realized that I was grieving. I grieved the loss of the “normal” we used to have before pandemic started; I grieved the fact that I couldn’t see my family and friends easily anymore; I grieved that I couldn’t go out as often as I used to. To be perfectly honest, I am still in a grief mode because I can feel the loss of the normalcy everywhere I go. It’ll be hard to know the normal we used to know and it’s okay to grieve. We’ve lost an important aspect of our lives and grieving is the only way to move past in and fully accept the new reality we face.
2. I became more health-conscious.
Not being able to go out as much as drastically changed how I perceive diet. Frankly, I ordered countless UberEATS during my quarantine to soothe myself and I noticed that this is such an unhealthy and costly habit; I knew I needed a sustainable and healthy diet to take care of myself. When I say diet, I’m not talking about weight loss. Rather, I’m talking about the food and nutrition. Staying home and experimenting with different food helped me to perceive diet in a healthier way. The phrase “you are what you eat” came alive during my quarantine and I came to accept that I need to balance out my nutrition to have proper fuel in my body to work and spend time with those I love. Now that I’m working to eat healthier, I noticed my mood improved and my energy level went up significantly.
3. I realized how disturbingly toxic social media can be.
Whether I liked it or not, social media was a big part of my life. I stayed in touch with my friends with it and I expressed myself on it from time-to-time. Heck, when my current job description includes managing social media, it’s hard to stay away from it all. It’s well-known that social media has a much negative influence but I only understood the real meaning of this concept during quarantine. People posting their Zoom hangouts and their perfect selfies proved that social media can be a toxic place where people can only post their highlights and perfect aspects of their lives. These posts sadly encourage unhealthy comparison and reinforce exclusion. Don’t get me wrong, social media can be a positive space too but from time to time, it shows its toxic sides to us. Now that I’ve noticed the negative impact of social media, I try to balance my social media life by following positive posts and taking a break from it when I feel drained.
4. I learned who my true friends are.
The very first emotion that came to me during my quarantine was a sudden wave of loneliness. I felt sorely alone and I wondered who are actually my friends. At first, I tried to keep in touch with as many people as possible and as often as possible because I didn’t want to feel lonely. As you might have guessed, it wasn’t a sustainable way to manage friendships. Funny enough, quarantine itself weeded out some people in my life and I was only left with only few friends to stay in touch with. It took me some time to come to a realization that this is a blessing in disguise since those few friends are the people who really matter in my life. For me, the reason why having just a few friends around is more rewarding than having many friends is because I know that I can fully trust them without second-guessing myself. That’s the life lesson I’m glad that I’m taking with me in 2020.
I used to have the urge to call 2020 the worst I’ve ever witnessed. Yet when I observe everything carefully and reflect on myself more, it’s still a gift to me. It gave me time to look around and grow as a person by learning these lessons. Maybe this new normal that we are now living in isn’t so bad if we’re learning more about how we can improve ourselves and how we can contribute to this world positively. I’m cautiously optimistic that this year is a great turning point for us all.
About Veronica Chung
Veronica is a communications professional based in Toronto who is passionate about diversity, politics, and equality. She is also an avid reader who enjoys reading Agatha Christie mysteries and inspirational biographies. When she is not working, you can find her grappling with Portuguese and Swedish. For more on Veronica, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.