When COVID stopped the world
By D.J. (Brasil)
It feels like we have been living inside a real life terror film called Covid 19, and I personally have been in confinement for 3 months. Alone. In a small one bedroom apartment, away from any family and friends. The infection rate here in Rio is astounding, and people are very scared. I have been fortunate enough to have not lost any friends or family to Covid, but I have parents and grandparents to worry about, as well as a friend who is immune depressed due to an illness that he has.
So if I am so fortunate, why do I feel such grief ? For the first month of confinement I felt tremendous sadness and grief, and though I kept reminding myself of how grateful I should be, I was depressed. Not only was I grieving for the whole world that was losing so many people who are dying from Covid, but I was also grieving alongside friends who have lost family members to complications related to Covid and who are coming to terms with not having been able to be by their side at the hospital or actually have a funeral. I realized that I was also grieving my old lifestyle, where I was traveling weekly for work, interacting with many people daily, dating and meeting new possible loves, making new friends, and going to my salsa dancing class. I was grieving that vacation that I had planned to Costa Rica with 10 friends from all over the world. I had to give myself the permission to grieve all of this and more, and know that this is something normal that others are going through too.
After a month of working from home and staying safely within the confines of the 4 walls of my small apartment, and while the whole world seemed to grind to a halt, something else was also happening. My beliefs were also quite affected by this situation. I realized that my fast track lifestyle was operating under a belief of having certainty and control over my life, and though I knew deep down that this belief is not real, I had not been reminded of the uncertainty inherent in life. This reminder was disturbing and so I grieved this too, but it served me to be more mindful of the present moment and to not attach to any future moment. I certainly won’t be forgetting this.
My break from my frenetic lifestyle was also giving me time and space to rest, and during this time I was coming to realize that some of the things in my life were not making me truly happy. I did a lot of introspection, got my thoughts together, and I have made some changes already, but I am armed with a renewed sense of what I truly want for myself that I know is going to help me make better choices from now on. I also have promised myself that I will be giving myself more down time in the future to allow me to connect with my feelings and check in with myself.
So that is the gift that Covid 19 has given me. I mourn with the world the impact that this world pandemic has had, but I will always be grateful for this huge world pause that has changed my life for the better.