Today marks lockdown day 64 for me having no physical interaction with anyone except the means of digital engagement with family and close friends. I am beginning to see this period as a pivotal moment with the world being connected through consideration and empathy as we are all now challenged by the same cause. I woke up this morning feeling unsettled and determined to do something. My first instinct is to write about it and gather my thoughts. I don’t want this to be a rant post, so instead I will attempt to remain factual about the past two months.
At the beginning of March before the world entered a state of emergency, I was ready to plan my next project. After 12 days into March, everything came to a halt. All businesses closed. Public services were limited. Hospitals suddenly became the only place with activity. Everyone was fixated on their media devices as a source of information, from social media, mass media news outlets, and social chats discussing what was happening locally to global. Many took advantage of the stock market instability, hoarding PPE products, and expressing political values and personal beliefs relating to Covid.
While I had no major obligations with work, I felt obligated to reach out and offer assistance to organizations I’ve worked with and past clients. I ended up jumping into a few projects and initiatives. I won’t get into the details but suffice to say every organization was at a standstill. After two months of going from a few hours of assistance a week turned to 25-40 hour work weeks. A part of me now regrets offering to “help out” as I’m beginning to feel taken advantage of because I managed to get myself into the accountability of these businesses, and I’m not even getting paid for it.
While the work kept my mind occupied, New York City became ground zero within weeks where my extended relatives were impacted, losing two relatives and one who was in medium care and recovered. While I personally wasn’t close with them, it was difficult to see how my close relatives were emotionally impacted. My uncles being ignorant to the risks of Covid exposure and breaking lockdown guidelines by going to work. My sister being a relief doctor at an emergency room hospital, my step-mom was drafted to the national research team for Covid, my cousin aiding with PPE relief in a dense Manhattan hospital. Suffice to say, my family members including my dad developed significant anxiety for their safety.
I am wondering how I’ll interpret this period of history in the future. Will I read this and laugh about how panicked we got because we overcome this challenge so easily, or will I reflect on how easy things were because life has changed so dramatically for the worse? I find myself thinking of Mark Manson’s book, Everything is fucked and I feel he was onto something when he spoke about how our generation is one of the more fortunate and cursed generations to never truly understand what it is like to not understand the notion of hope. With everything happening the way it is, our generation (and the ones after us) are a lost cause if we don’t understand the need to be more selfless. Going to the beach not maintaining social distancing and not wearing a mask as misguided conception of losing personal rights. We must come together to get through this, and all (or most) of us coming out as responsible and considerate people.