Pandemic Passages: Navigating the...

Pandemic Passages: Navigating the Before and After of Life with Covid (French version available)

by Elora Pharai
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

If someone were to tell me that in 2022 I’d be living in a world where there’s a new virus, I’d think they were absolutely insane. It would be an understatement to say that none of us ever saw a worldwide pandemic melting into our everyday lives; we didn’t see the masks, the vaccines, we didn’t see the absolute fear and panic that would become the world. Most importantly, we did not see the people that we would become after the pandemic. When something big happens, life seemingly splits into two halves. There’s the before half, and the after.

In some ways, my before does not look that different from my after, but in others, they couldn’t be more different. Initially, I refused to accept the pandemic as something that was a normal part of my life. Like everybody else, I thought we’d be going back to school after the two weeks were up. Back then, I was in grade 11, and a lot of what I wanted to do was based on other people. If I’m being honest, I had a difficult time trusting myself and having confidence in my decisions and abilities.  For instance, I wanted to take classes such as biology and math, because that’s what all of my friends were good at. Naturally, I expected that I was supposed to be good at the same. However, through doing online school, I was exposed to a wider range of classes: Writer’s Craft, Ancient Civilizations, and History. I realized that my path fell through the humanities path, and that was completely fine. Through being away from my friends, I learnt about independence and doing what I felt was right. I learnt to think for myself and make decisions based on my own best interest.

Currently, in my “after pandemic” life, I am going into my second year of university. That said, a lot of time has passed since the first lockdowns were announced. Navigating first year wasn’t easy at all; a lot of bad things (besides COVID) happened: my father had a heart attack a week before my midterms, I had to manage going back and forth between in person and online classes, and I ended up having a COVID outbreak in my house during my final exams. Basically, there were times where I felt like absolutely nothing was going right. It felt like I was constantly trying to get through a rough patch. However, through this, I learnt that bad, unexpected things are inevitable. There’s nothing you can do to stop them from happening because they’re just a part of the journey and you can’t control that. With that in mind, what you do have some control over is how you react to the bad things. It’s ok to have a negative reaction, and it’s ok to be weak. The problem begins if you plan to stay that way. If you find yourself in the darkness, keep walking through it, even if you can’t yet see a way out of it. There’s always a way out. Eventually you’ll get back up again. You should not want your life or who you are to be centered around the worst obstacles. It doesn’t do any good to dwell on the bad parts and forget to live or to grow as a person.

In short, who you were before the pandemic may look very different from who you are now. Who knows, maybe you think you’re the same. Growth does not always make itself obvious, sometimes it’s subtle, waiting for you to recognize it.

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