By Lauren Piskothy
At the time I’m writing this, I would have been with my boyfriend in England. In May, my friends and family were supposed to watch me walk across a stage and receive my college diploma. Instead, I have been self-quarantining with my family for the past week.
Of course, I’m upset, and I have a right to be. I never thought a pandemic would completely derail my senior year and prevent me from seeing my boyfriend whom I haven’t seen since January, and quite honestly it sucks. It sucks a lot.
But I’ve allowed myself to be upset only momentarily because the truth is, the Coronavirus does not care about our social lives, our relationships, our travel plans or commencement ceremonies, and people are going to die. It’s a harsh reality, but we cannot sulk in the disruption to our lives because the stakes are simply too high. We have no choice but to make sacrifices and stay inside, instead of perpetually feeling sorry for ourselves, because there is a larger gravity to what’s going on around us.
It’s scary and it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I’m sure it’s unlike anything others have experienced too, but there is solace in knowing we are all in this together. This is the time when we need to do our best to support one another.
One of the quotes I find comfort in during dark times comes from Mr. Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’”
I have seen so many people act selflessly on social media. From people offering free online cooking classes, to free dance classes, even just sharing positive messages and helping those who are too vulnerable to leave their houses at all.
This is a time to be selfless. People all around the world are doing it already, not only by contributing their time, but by staying inside to protect those most at risk and slow down the spread of the virus. We can build each other up by staying connected via social media, Facetiming friends, and reaching out to those who are most vulnerable. We are fortunate to live in a world where we can get in touch with someone halfway across the world with the click of a button.
In times like these we are all we have and I believe because of that, we will come out of this scary time stronger and more bonded to each other. This is the time for us to be mindful of each other and the sacrifices those around us are making to keep each other safe. To remember those with low income jobs, who are now unemployed in an effort to keep their neighbors safe. To be grateful for the healthcare workers who are putting their health at risk to save others.
This is a time to grow. This is a time to to create, to learn a new instrument, to pick up a new hobby, to cook, to read, to write, to paint, and to spend time with loved ones (virtually, or with those in your household.)
It’s going to be uncomfortable making such drastic changes to our daily lives, but we do not have a choice. This will be our reality for a little while, but we do not have to suffer through it. We can choose to get caught up in the “would haves” and “what ifs” or we can choose to elevate ourselves and our loved ones in this dark time.
Let’s choose to be safe, to be smart, and to be selfless.