How Has The Quarantine Helped You Be A Better Person?

a ‘Change Your Mind, Change Your Life’ Writing Prompt

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Photo by Andrew Ly on Unsplash

The year has been tough on all of us.

The life we have known for so long, the comfort of the familiar, has suddenly been ripped away from us.

It’s been almost a year.

A year of living with the pandemic.

A lot have been taught.
A lot have been learned.

When the Change Your Mind, Change Your Life writing prompt from Dr. Christine Bradstreet arrived in my inbox, I knew I have to write a piece on it.

I can’t afford to forget the lessons I’ve been learning all year long.

It’s all about what and how you choose to see.

I was frustrated for some time.

My wedding reception, scheduled to be held last July, had to be cancelled.

I had put a down payment on the venue, the wedding dress, and some of the other things. I’ve also paid in full for some of the services rendered.

Worse, my husband’s family had taken days off and had scheduled to fly in from Germany and Argentina. One of my best friends and her partner were planning to fly in from England too. (Thank God all of them hadn’t purchased the flight tickets).

I even argued with my dad for 3 days about the wedding reception (I want it small, he wants it big) and burst out in tears in one of the arguments because I was so frustrated. Thinking back, it was absolutely ridiculous and unnecessary since the whole thing has been postponed until next year anyway.

(In the end, we both compromised and agreed to meet in the middle for the size of the wedding. It’s probably going to be reduced even more now that there’s a global pandemic involved.)

I have my moments of frustration.

My husband and I are avid travellers. We had discussed and made plans on what we wanted to do this year. Trekking in the mountain (we were thinking Nepal), visiting our family in our own respective countries, maybe throwing in a cross-countries motorcycle ride.

Everything went up in a smoke.

We had to adjust our perspectives.

We would have been swamped with disappointment if we didn’t.

Like most people, we were also struggling with the feeling of being caged. Not being able to move freely.

We had to change the way we see things.

We are together in the same country when so many couples are separated by oceans. We get along well working together at home. We have roof above our heads and food on our table (many are not as fortunate) and my husband has a good stable job to sustain us.

We focus all our attention and energy on the good things.

It’s all about perspective, the lens through which we see the world.

We choose what we see and how we see it.

Learning valuable lessons from nature.

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The view outside the studio window. ©Agnes Louis

That’s the tree outside the window of the studio where I attend my WeBarre classes.

The class had just entered the stretching phase of the workout. As I laid on my back looking out the window, watching the leaves swayed with the wind, a little ray of sunshine gently touching the green, a thought occurred to me.

The trees, the leaves and flowers.

They all grow and die in one spot.

Like the mountains, they don’t move and yet, we can sense their peace and contentment.

During their lifetime, they provide shades for those who seek, oxygen to sustain many many lives and nourishment for bodies and souls.

We humans are constantly moving, searching. We are living in a fast-paced world. We want to fly, we want to cross the ocean, we constantly look for something better not realizing that sometimes, the very things we are looking for, we already have.

Of course, we have to constantly seek improvement. There wouldn’t have been innovations otherwise. But the quarantine has made me realize something important.

I have moved so much I have forgotten how to stay.

I have always moved around, traveling from one place to the other. When opportunity knocks on my door, I gladly open it. What is there to think about? We only live once. Right?

It’s like a merry-go-around from hell.

I have moved so fast I have forgotten how to ‘not move’. It’s like going on a merry-go-around with a broken control panel at full speed (just thinking about it makes me feel queasy).

I’ve had to stop moving for almost a year now.

My soul longs for islands far far away. I struggle sometimes. I can’t even fly 1 hour home because well, it’s Indonesia and things are just not good right now (understatement of the year).

But nature has taught me valuable lessons. Lessons I wouldn’t have learned if I haven’t paused long enough to reflect.

Contentment is here, right where we are.

Like the trees, we need to give — give and expect nothing in return. Give for as long as we live so that when the time comes for us to leave, we can leave in peace, knowing we have given our best.

The things we have taken for granted.

The most important thing I had noticed during the quarantine, is the things we have gotten so used to that we have unconsciously taken them for granted.

Being able to leave the house anytime we want, however we want. Not having to wear something we don’t want to wear (but now have to because we care about ourselves as much as we care about others). Being able to fly to another city, another country anytime we want or need. Being able to attend classes and communicate with our peers and teachers in person.

I can list another thousand of similar items.

The little comforts of what we think are normal things and therefore, never put much thought on.

We now know that nothing is ever quite normal. We created our normal. The pandemic destroys it in a span of a year.

The quarantine has ridded us all of any sense of entitlement and superiority.

Humans, we think we are so great because we make so many things that seems impossible possible. We create the concept of money, allowing ourselves to move forward faster, enabling the creations of what were once thought impossible.

There’s just no limit to what we can achieve! In the process, we destroy forests, pollute oceans, kill animals to a point of extinction.

We have forgotten our place and nature reminds us where exactly that place is.

Almost a year later, with everything we have at our disposals — brilliant minds and abundant resources — we’re still scrambling for vaccines.

I have been utterly humbled by the pandemic.

I have been gently reminded not to take anything for granted.

Final words

My dad just sent me a quote:

A happy person is not one with favourable circumstances, but one with a favourable attitude.

(Actually, someone sent it to him and he asked me what it means.)

The Universe speaks to you in mysterious way.

We are now about to enter a new year (2 and a half months to go!), we don’t know what will happen in the future. Maybe the vaccine will already be available next month (say amen with me). Maybe it will take a bit more time.

In the meantime, we make do with what we have.

We adjust our lenses, count our blessings and learn from the trees:

Be still.

Give silently.

Dance with the wind.

A special thanks to Dr. Christine Bradstreet for the writing prompt.

It has been a good moment of reflection.

This post is a part of my October writing challenge:

If you have a burning question(s) you think I can answer (it can be about anything), feel free to pop the question(s) in the comment section below or e-mail me the question(s) at agneslouis3108@gmail.com.

Thank you for reading and being a part of my journey!

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Writer by heart. Teacher (English, Yoga, Pilates) by trade. Avid reader. World traveller. Model. You can reach me at agneslouis3108@gmail.com.

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