My biggest takeaway from this tough phase is compassion and gratitude.
As the lockdown commenced, it did not take me much time to realize that the initial "wow I finally got a break" period will soon fade away. And that the major part of the lockdown will be spent overthinking, overanalyzing, and worrying about the future. Sadly, I was right to a great extent. As and when news about deaths and crises started flowing in from all corners of the world, the flickering flame of optimism was clouded by a heavy distressing feeling that I have not quite been able to comprehend so far. All I know is that it has opened a barrage of emotions in me, and sometimes, I feel unequipped to manage them alone. It has also made me realize that loneliness is as real as the lockdown itself and I would be naive to not attach as much seriousness to it in the future as I do now.
However, later as positive and inspirational stories started surfacing on social media, it made me see, how a tough time has brought the entire world together as a family. It made me grateful for being a part of such a generous and compassionate community. It showed me that while this community knows how to live in harmony, it has very much lost its track, and perhaps this is God's way of telling us to get back on the right track.
All said and done, this has been an eye-opening time for me, and here are some of the precious lessons I learned.
As someone who is living alone during the lockdown, I could say that I understand the importance of a family much better than what I did earlier. There are days when crawling out of bed seemed like the most difficult task but all it took for me to gain back my energy was a "good morning" text from my daughter. While one might assume that family members are supposed to do each other big favors, for me, it is all about little gestures this lockdown. From my son's bad jokes to my daughter's concerned phone calls, I knew that while I am not present with them but I am not entirely alone either.
It's true that days and nights seem to converge into each other when life suddenly comes to a halt. But I have realized that as much as you refuse to face the new normal, or the new reality, the more your negativity will magnify and your thoughts will weigh you down. Therefore, acceptance is important, and meditating has helped me accept the new normal and connect with myself. Once, in control of my haphazard thoughts, I started feeling lighter and building my life bit by bit. From eating on time to getting sun and fresh air to pampering myself with homemade face scrubs, I have understood that as you put in efforts to keep yourself happy and healthy, the outward gloom does not affect you as much as it earlier did. This lockdown and loneliness have also taught me that I am my best company.
Be it friends, family, cousins, or a partner, if they have been with you through this time, they are probably here to stay and you should value them the most. The days when my friends listened to every little problem of mine, did umpteen Facetime calls with me, or made me realize that I am neither alone nor weak, I felt the luckiest. It would not be wrong to say that surviving and thriving during such a tough time would have been extremely challenging had my friends not been with me. On the other hand, it has also made see the difference between a good and a bad relationship. Loneliness has made me more aware of my security and well-being, therefore, I have decided to cut all toxic and negative people out of my life.
Being by myself, exposed to a vast amount of information through the internet, has made me realize how lucky I am to have everything I need, unlike many many out there for whom the lockdown is nothing short of a nightmare. So I have become more receptive to others' emotions and feelings, I have also become more aware of the surroundings and how the numerous elements of nature flow in symphony to make the earth a planet of dreams. Additionally, I have developed a new-found respect for essential workers and healthcare workers without whom survival seems like a far off destination. At times, I find myself wondering, how different would it be if all of us decided to be a bit more humane and compassionate towards everyone and everything. After all, whether it is a pandemic or any other crisis, there is nothing that love and compassion can't heal.
We all have that little muffled voice within ourselves that tells us everything will be fine. Ignoring this voice initially and worrying about every little thing cost me my peace. I later understood that while it might not directly enable me to face a challenge, it could certainly ease my nerves and show me that I am capable of handling adversities without being overly anxious about them. Also, more often than not, we tend to underestimate our strength and perseverance. Being alone during this lockdown has taught me that I am stronger than I think and when in control of myself I can brave through any situation.
Disclaimer: This article is based on insights from different sources. The views expressed here are those of the writer.