Our lives have changed in the last two weeks. COVID-19 started as a far-away problem, something we felt completely and utterly far removed from as we continued to live our lives, as usual. College, lectures and coffees on campus with our friends to kill time. Little did we know, life was about to change.
We listened to podcasts that mentioned this new virus while walking to college or sat around the dinner table and discussed the problems in a land that seemed a world apart from us. We didn’t think that something like this would ever impact us. We listened to the news talking about the stock markets and how stock values were dropping, but we didn’t think of the impact it would have on our lives. We’ve certainly become more connected through social media and inexpensive flights, but have lost our appreciation for real, human connection. The capricious spread of this disease is exemplary of our fast-paced world that has become more and more saturated with individualism. However, COVID-19 has proved that no matter how individualistic our society becomes, we will always owe a responsibility to each other.
Our generation has grown up in an age of increased online socialising and constantly being exposed to the vastness of our world. We didn’t realise how much we relied on the comfort of being able to socialise whenever we wanted, however we wanted. How much we needed those coffee dates, those study breaks for chats with our friends and the comforts of being able to give your friends a hug.
In a time of increased consumption of social media, social distancing is in no doubt, exposing the superficiality of it. We live in an age of constant stimulation. Students like us have grown up in a culture of more and more, bigger and better, and it has all now come to a total standstill. Our lives have been reduced to the four, seemingly boring walls of our homes. But there is something greater going on externally, something that will most certainly leave lasting effects. There’s a lot of darkness shadowing the world right now, cast by this growing pandemic and the lives it has impacted.
The four walls of our homes are where we are safest, where we are protected from the growing shadow of such darkness being cast upon us. At our loneliest time, it is difficult to see how by being alone, we are showing more unity than ever before. Humans find new ways to help each other, and perhaps the defining moment of our generation is now. It’s the moment which stood still and behind it, lay life as we knew it and before it, an uncertain future. In the stillness of this moment, we will learn to persist and let the best of our humanness – our capacity for kindness, for warmth and selflessness, prevail.
Amidst this uncertainty, we can try and get to know ourselves better, perhaps. Life has indeed become busier and busier for all of us. We often struggle to practise self-care and self-love, putting the things we love and enjoy, the things that nourish our souls on the back foot whilst chasing the mirage of meeting perpetual deadlines.
It’s time to slow down, to do all that we’ve ever wanted to do and have not yet had time to do. It’s time to just be. To exist in ourselves. Humans have learned to find comforts in the most tragic of times and these comforts are often a corollary effect of our humanity. And it is during times such as these when our humanity shines the brightest. As Robert Frost once said, “Men work together…Whether they work together or apart.”
Who knows what’s to come? But after this fades into the shadows of an unprecedented past, I know that we will appreciate the exuberance of people, of concerts, of full cinemas, of coffee shops at peak time and the sweetness of the bonds we share with the people we love.
Mahnoor Choudhry – Reporter