A global pandemic is not something that anyone could have prepared us for. It’s terrifying, frankly, to see more people die in such a short period than some of us have ever before seen in our lifetime. The threat of COVID-19 is ever looming, disrupting almost every aspect of our lives from work to social interaction with friends, family, and acquaintances. We are limited to our homes and designated essential activities, all for the sake of preventing the spread of an invisible disease that has so far killed nearly 38,000 people worldwide, and counting. It’s nearly all the media talks about, it’s all everyday life seems to be centered around. And in the US, we are the epicenter of the largest amount of confirmed cases. Millions of Americans are having to look at mortality in a way that seems so much more uncomfortably close. Even in our newfound unity, in our resilience, we are still leaping far into the unknown. It seems so terribly dark. Where do we go from here?
The truth is, nobody knows. It’s easy to stay inside at first, to have alone time with your favorite music, enjoy a good book, spend the day wearing sweatpants and a band logo shirt. After a while it becomes alien. The world we knew is alien. There are no bars, no bookstores, no parties, no play. Many people have lost their jobs. Some of us are fortunate enough to be able to continue working remotely. And it might seem pointless. It isn’t.
Robert Frost once summarized life in three words: “It goes on.” Although it may seem as though things are at a standstill, the world spins madly on, and we are able to make the choice as to how we would like to be a part of this uncertain future. A future in which we walk together towards unity, having spent a shared time learning what it means to love those of us we are most close to, and learn to recognize the same love in those who are across the globe. It is okay to grieve. It is okay to feel the devastating loss of those faceless figures, of the rising numbers reported on the evening news every day. Where do we go from here? The direction might not be as important as the fact that we must keep going. Things like reading, writing, working, playing, watching movies, walking, dancing, laughing are what we hold on to in times like this. It is, after all, why we are here. As Kurt Vonnegut said “laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion. I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.”
Read about the paid leave requirements for COVID-19 here.