Here are my scattered thoughts on the virus and current state of the world, ending with some advice that I hope you’ll find helpful.
Well, we’ve reached a point where we’re about a third of the way through summer 2020. You might be feeling sad, anxious, happy.
However your emotions have fluctuated throughout the past few months, it’s probably a guarantee that disappointment has crept into your mind the most.
My entire life I’ve tried to be an optimist, so when I heard NYU was temporarily shutting down mid-March, I wasn’t completely bummed for a couple of reasons.
A) Nothing particularly interesting was happening during the spring semester anyway, so I thought an extra few weeks in Florida wouldn’t be too bad,
B) I didn’t know I would actually be spending the summer in Florida because NYU originally announced we would resume classes April 19 before completely ending the semester, and
C) The fact that the virus was shutting our world down and would drastically change my summer and fall plans didn’t register in my brain until a couple of weeks ago.
Now that it’s all sunken in, I’m heavily disappointed and stressed. I planned to spend this summer in New York pursuing an internship, taking classes and hanging out with friends.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t always go as planned.
I think the reason I stayed positive for so long was because Florida never fully shut down and the places that did opened up again quickly, so I’m grateful – I know the virus was affecting my friends in New York and California more heavily.
But as the summer progressed and doubt entered my mind, my mood turned pessimistic. Then I felt guilty, because how can I feel upset about the virus and staying home when this situation is so much worse for so many people?
I don’t feel any better checking the daily coronavirus cases in Florida – they’re increasing like crazy due to the fact that some people still won’t wear masks, some are partying in large groups, and some restaurants aren’t following COVID guidelines. It’s gotten so bad, three of the Tampa Bay Lightning players (and the general manager) tested positive.
Luckily, the mayor of Tampa just made it mandatory to wear masks indoors if you are unable to remain six feet apart and I’ve seen businesses refuse mask-less customers.
Overall, we need to do better.
So, the answer to getting out of these guilt-ridden funks is to remember a couple of things – of all of the times I've been upset in the past few weeks, I’ve compiled the best advice I’ve been given.
I’m an extremely Type A, organized, goal-driven person, but even checking accomplishments off of my to do list is producing less serotonin than normal, so I found that this advice really helped me reframe how I’m looking at life.
1. This is temporary – I’ve been feeling like this time will never end, thinking about how it could inevitably bleed into my remaining college semesters. I’ve been told that “this isn’t forever” more times than I can count, but it really is true, which leads me to my next point.
2. Think of the big picture – It’s really helpful to picture the far future 5-10 years from now. I still want to go to journalism school or law school and live in New York– we all still have dreams that we will achieve despite current feelings of hopelessness.
3. Put everything in perspective – For me, journaling is everything, especially the practice of gratitude. Whenever you feel upset, actively take a step back and write out your feelings, or list what you are grateful for.
4. There’s no ideal age group to be in right now – Of course, I’m thankful not to be in the elderly age group that the virus is heavily affecting, but I would hate to be in high school, trying to apply to colleges, or a working parent with little children at home taking online classes. While this is limiting my college experience, I’m still grateful for the times I’ve already had and future memories I will make.
5. Mix up your schedule – Obviously, doing the same thing every day gets old! I’ve been switching up my routine by walking outside a few days a week and listening to podcasts instead of sitting in my room, waiting for dinner, listening to the same playlists I’ve had since I was twelve.
6. It is what it is – Yes, this sucks, but it’s happening. Like I said, the fact that the world shut down and is affecting life this much was extremely hard for me to accept. But now that I have, I just take life one day at a time and I’m proud of myself for getting through each day. Because some are really, really hard.
Overall, all we can do is try our best to get through this awful time, taking it one step at a time. I know I’m personally looking forward to the days when I can recount this mess to my children and grandchildren. Here’s to brighter days in 2021!