Updated: Apr 30, 2020
Who would have thought that when we woke up January 1st, 2020, we would in the near future be battling a killer virus, and on a global lockdown? An economy nosedive and the worst of them: the xenophobia pandemic.
I too would like to skip 2020, open my eyes one morning and magically be in 2021 or 2022 (from the way things are going I am not sure if 2021 is a year I look forward to.) But you know what? I still believe in miracles. So, while I wait for this miracle to never happen, let’s talk about what this lockdown has brought to light for many and what it did not teach me at all.
Here are the three things coronavirus did not teach me:
1. What You Don’t Know Will Kill You
Those with knowledge are put on a higher platform than those without – well money can influence this but let’s debate on that later. Likewise, those who seek knowledge are said to be wiser than those who wait for it to drop on them like manna from heaven. Those days are gone folks. (p.s. I am definitely guilty here as well)
Seeking knowledge in the 21st century is not as complicated and time consuming like the old days where you travel weeks just to hear someone say, “you are on the right path.” In 2021, it takes two seconds to type in “how to save” or “how to make a face mask” and two seconds for an overwhelming amount of information to appear on your screen. Heck, many times information finds you without you asking for it.
To be in the know you have to look for it – in a healthy amount and way of course. There are free programs, YouTube channels, blogs and podcasts that will feed you information, steps, tips and tricks on everything under the moon – including why you should not touch a Black person’s hair. Basic knowledge.
While you have some amount of free time (like the time you would dress up, wait for public transport or drive to work), why not catch on some good knowledge? Research something trivial like why the British spell it colour and Americans, color. Or why Africa is not a country – that should be an eye opening one for many people. Ignorance is not always bliss! In some cases, I’d rather not know, but in other scenarios we absolutely need to be informed.
2. How You Treat Others Will Always Matter
There is a saying or concept I hear all the time. It says that true friendship is when you don’t speak for years and when you finally do, it’s like you never skipped a beat. I call that practice to the stand your Honor.
You can’t bounce back to a normal or healthy relationship or conversation when you left it in a shaky, uncertain state. The part that this quote or concept has no space to elaborate is that picking up from where you left off is dependent on how things were left, how you treated that person then and during the hiatus, and dependent on who you and they have become. I argue that you can’t just pick up from something that was not defined; on its last breath or never preserved during the break.
During this pandemic I’ve reached out to several people and the response was positive. Why? Because before the lockdown, I generally reached out to them. I made time to say hello via text, call or email. Thus, reaching out during this time is not strange, awkward nor does it have any attached strings. Simply put, I am calling because you matter, and I want to sustain or grow the relationship.
If reaching out and putting attention and value in your relationships – professionally, socially and personally is something you do naturally it will be received as so. It will flow as smooth as water. However, if this pandemic has taught you the value in your relationships and why being nice, consistent and present in the lives of others makes a difference, I hope after this pandemic, you don’t disappear. Unless you are a spy then it’s fine.
3. Being Isolated Can Be a Healthy Choice
I don’t want to sneak away. Nah, I am self-isolating for some time, in confidence and without guilt; but I will see you later. There is no reason why you can’t tell people this. We don’t need to plug into social mode all the time. You don’t have to be present mentally, emotionally and physically all the time – you are not peanut butter or chocolate ( I don’t eat any of those but I know it’s a crowd favourite.)
Now that we are forced to quarantine, many feel their rights are being imposed upon. Some feel loneliness they’ve never had to confront. But for my OG self-isolators, this is just another day in our routine. Our minds are not in (as much) shock because the entire concept is not causing a quake.
Self-imposed isolation is a healthy choice when done right. Tuck away for some time and do what you hear all the time: reflect, meditate, pray or just chill. And for parents, just sleep. It does not need to involve money or a lot of planning. It does not have to be far from your home. It does not need to be for days. It can be for half the day. And for folks who will say financially I can’t do that; reach out to your network and social group to see how they can band together and give you that mental break. You don’t have because you don’t ask – and in some cases, keep asking in all the right places.
This shelter in place, lockdown, quarantine, social distancing or isolation (however you want to call it) is an opportunity to reconnect with yourself, your goals, your wants and your needs and other human beings. Unless you are into aliens then by all means catch up there too.
Tell your mind a different story and see the difference for yourself.