In the last few months, my world came to a screeching halt when the world was rocked by COVID-19. (I’m being very dramatic here, as I sit in my cushy suburban home where I started working my full-time job from in March with basically all of the privileges available to protect me.) Either way, the time at home forces you to reflect, am I right?
So, I know you didn’t ask for it, but I’m documenting some of the most relevant things I learned, mostly for myself to look back on and realize that maybe this quarantine wasn’t such a bad thing after all:
- My privilege is showing. First and foremost, I learned immensely more about race, race relations in America and what it means to be Black in this country in the last few months that I ever did in school. I can’t fathom how immensely privileged I’ve been to never think about my whiteness as a barrier in life. I’ve near even feared for my life. I’m continuing having tough conversations, reading as much as I can and understanding that the least I can do is listen.
- Travel is not everything. I hate that I just said that, because I’ve always felt like my twenties was made for travel, exploring and doing all the carefree, stupid shit I want to. But the last few months have proven to me that I cannot rely on travel, something that’s a privilege in itself, to provide the rest and refresh I need. It’s irresponsible for my mental health; it’s not fair to put that kind of pressure on it. Travel is a treat that I’ve been fortunate enough to experience time and time again, and will once again get back to my regular flight schedule. But my wellbeing is not (and should not be) dependent on it.
- Everyone is going to disagree with you. Plz get over it, Rach. In the past, I’ve let other people’s confident views make me feel insecure about the beliefs I’ve held forever. 2020 was the year I woke up and realized that you can be an active listener, taking in all kinds of points of view, and still believe in something different than someone else. It seems obvious, but for me – as someone who is always intimately affected by the words of others – it was a wake up call.
- Your health can go downhill fast if you don’t take care of yourself. Immediately after quarantine began, I took it as an opportunity to use the spare time for fun cooking exercises, like homemade pasta and cinnamon rolls. I also took it as an opportunity to gain 10 pounds. Being at home, I didn’t realize how little I was walking compared to in the office, and motivation for working out was at an all time low. I realized I really have to be intentional about my health. Peloton’s advertising definitely did a number on me.
- I was not created to consume as much content as I’m consuming. I’m hoping to write more about this topic (ironic)… but I’ve read a few articles talking about mental health and how our minds are cluttered because of how many stories we are consuming minute by minute. If you watched The Social Dilemma on Netflix, you’ve seen similar themes – addictive traits in technology – that are scary. We were not designed to consume this much content, constantly. And it’s keeping us from processing the real world.
- The outdoors is a beautiful sanctuary. If you know me, you know this isn’t a new discovery for me. But it’s one that’s much more prevalent in quarantine and one that I truly appreciate now more than ever. This summer was filled with 10x as many weekends at the lake, local and regional hikes, and your girl actually got in to running (who am I?). In summary, get your ass outside and thank me later.
- Writing a book doesn’t get any easier when you’re stuck at home with nothing else to do. How is this even possible? I have an idea I’m passionate about, an outline I’m digging and all the tools at my fingertips to bring my creation to life. Yet, it’s so hard to find the right way to start or push myself to just do it. I’m even writing this post to avoid doing it. If you’re reading this, take this as a sign to shoot me a text and tell me to get to work.
I guess that’s it for now. Until next time: wear a mask, please.