Tuesday, January 5, 2021

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2020 was a literal world changer. The events of last year have left our lives utterly transformed, with everyday life now often resembling scenes from some post-apocalyptic movie. What started as a health crisis in China has now swept across the globe, resulting in a pandemic that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives, as well as millions of livelihoods as the economic impacts of lockdowns, quarantines and social distancing have exacted their heavy toll. 

In the era of COVID-19, maintaining mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing has become a unique challenge. 

Many people whom previously found their intellectual life wrapped up in their work have now had to adapt to the virtual workspace through platforms like Zoom. That our technology allows instant video communication with anyone almost anywhere around the globe is no doubt a modern marvel. However, many people now find that the experience of face to face interaction provides something essentially human that cannot be replaced. 

Hours spent at a desk at home of course mean that physical activity has taken a hit in the Covid era. To make matters worse most indoors gyms and recreation centers are now closed, leaving many people with no easy solution for physical fitness. 

All the extra time freed up from eliminating commutes to and from work are now often spent languishing at home. For some, the "live your best life queen" style of social butterfly living has been utterly dismantled. Gone are the days of free travel, brunches, parties, dinners, get togethers, speed dates, and sleep overs. Social distancing has brought about the new social convention of frowning on the simple act of hugging a friend. 

Churches which previously served as the weekly gathering place of whole communities now often sit empty on the day of worship. The path of the televangelist is now revealed as "the way" in this new era. 

With all that said however, it should never be forgotten that as humans we have an amazing ability to adapt. Although these changes may leave our lives feeling bleak, pending or off-balance, they also create a platform for learning, reflection and newfound perspectives. It can feel overwhelmingly difficult to maintain optimism at a time like this, but the effects of COVID-19 on our lives may not be all negative. There are, in fact, some silver linings.

In the old days (yes, thats what we'll now be calling our lives from before covid) people often lamented the fast pace of life which left little time for reflection with the hustle and bustle. The disruptions to this previous ebb and flow has opened a new lane through which many people now are finding the time to approach their lives more thoughtfully and deliberately. Personally, this new life has given me time to be closer to my music. I'm thankful for that. 

While most indoor activities are off limits, it appears that (through the grace of God) this virus does not spread easily in the sunlight and open air. If they weren't before, many people have now become "the outdoors type" going for walks, runs, hikes and anything else that involves the great outdoors. 

Relationships are no doubt more difficult to form and maintain in this new era. But lately Ive wondered if this forced slow down in things like dating hasn't been a sort of blessing in disguise. These days any social gathering must be well planned and managed to avoid unnecessary exposure to the virus. That often means that the people we do spend time with are chosen more deliberately, and our time together feels more precious. 

In times like these, faith can be the only thing between us and the abyss. In particular, the gut wrenching experience of loosing a loved one to this terrible virus can be almost too much to bare. As a 4th year medical student I've personally been thrust to the front lines of this health crisis, and in the last few months I have born witness to more illness and death than I could have ever imagined. But Hope springs eternal, and I'm of the opinion that these trying times are drawing many of us closer to God. 

Yes, our lives may now be unrecognizable. But with a little luck we will get through this, and we just may be better off for it. 


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