In 2019 (which seems like it was five years ago), I was working at a job that wasn’t reflecting my worth. I had gained all I could from my position and instead of learning anything new, the lessons began repeating themselves over and over again like I was stuck in some sort of time loop. I began resenting the mornings I had to go to work, trying to squish my way into a bus that felt more like a can of sardines and finally clocking in at my job. My mental, physical and emotional health were screaming at me. Quitting my job without a backup was far too terrifying –
being in a place of uncertainty – not knowing how much time it’s going to take until someone else hires you – the thought alone made my heart pound and tailspin into a pit of anxiety, especially since I had been applying for months and had heard nothing. I figured if I wasn’t having any luck now, who’s to say I would have any luck after quitting, so, I stayed.
Cue the pandemic. In March of 2020, I was forced to do what I couldn’t on my own – leave my job. With no official date of return, I was caught off guard – it was freedom but with heavy restrictions. On one hand, I got the break I desperately needed; on the other, a virus was working its way across the globe leaving devastation in its tracks. With the stay-at-home orders in place, I was now in a different kind of time loop, the kind where I had to take a good, hard look at myself every day. Without a job, not being able to see friends and hardly leaving my house, I had no distractions from the baggage that had built up within me. So I started listening. Working on myself hasn’t been easy – more like walking on jagged rocks, but I’ve come out of it a much happier person. As I continue to do the work, the ground underneath becomes smoother and softer. My mental, physical and emotional health have improved tremendously, quieting the screams.
My world has really opened up during the pandemic. As someone who is immunocompromised, I still don’t leave my house a lot, but my local library has become my second home; books are my friends. Through reading, I’ve gone hitchhiking around the galaxy with Arthur Dent and Ford Prefect, learned how completely un-fine Eleanor Oliphant was in Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and discovered one of the most significant women to be forgotten by medical history in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. My best friend also brought me along on a new adventure with her – a musical one – by introducing me to BTS. If you’re reading this and you are ARMY, I’m so sorry I was late to the party. It’s not just their music and steady stream of amazing content that has helped pick me up, it’s getting to share all of the things I’ve learned throughout this pandemic with the people closest to me that has brought joy and fun back into my life. Celebrating the wins of myself and my friends, whether it’s getting a new job, taking up a new hobby or just taking a shower that day isn’t a bad thing we should feel guilty about because the world is on fire: it’s a great thing because we could all use some wins and some good news. Most of all, through this pandemic I’ve been confronted with the unknown and have had to learn to become content with uncertainty, with not knowing what’s next and that’s a huge win.