I've been moving this post around on my editorial calendar for the past few months because I didn't know when it felt right to write something like this. This year, with the pandemic, has been truly been horrifying. Who would've thought that a virus could shut down the entire world? This was something that I never even imagined and something that never crossed my mind as a possibility. 

Back in March, I was already feeling horrible about the year; my aunt passed away and my boyfriend broke up with me so I wasn't thrilled about 2020 to start with. Now, every day seems to get worse and there has been a huge effect on my mental health. 

When this all started and we were on full lockdown here in NYC, it felt like you were in a horror movie. I remember I went back to my office at the end of March (I needed to grab some items) and the streets were empty... I'm not exaggerating; aside from a few delivery men, I was the only person on the street. It felt like a movie set... it felt like someone was making a movie about New York and this was their fake New York. If you are in Manhattan every day, with crowded streets and loud noises, and full of life, to see the city like that was a shock to the system.

As I had mentioned here numerous times, I was fine staying inside. I was still working *busier than ever thank goodness* and it felt like a really good excuse to not have to deal with the outside world. I had just gotten dumped and the thought of trying to force myself to be ok in a social setting without my boyfriend was very nerve-wracking... so not having to worry about that felt amazing. 

I think one of the hardest parts about this for me was seeing so many people say the virus was fake or not taking it seriously. I have always been a proud New Yorker and I was very proud during this time because we were all abiding by the rules. Everyone wore a mask (and still are!!!), everyone stayed inside... we were all good. Other states, not so much... but when you see a freezer sitting on the streets outside hospitals because the morgue is overflowing, you should take things a little more seriously.

That was the moment the pandemic changed things for me... and it was the moment I realized that a lot of Americans don't care about others... and that was the hardest lesson to learn.

I'm going, to be honest, I never feared getting sick. I don't know if it was because I was actually being careful or because I knew I'd probably be fine but I wasn't anxious about being sick. I also think if you deal with anxiety and depression on a daily basis, this was a time that your brain was saying "ok, the worse is happening, you've been preparing for this."

All of that being said, there were a few other things I learned during this time:

Technology is Amazing

I obviously already knew how incredible technology could be but seeing how important it was during the first few months of the pandemic was astounding. I was 'hanging' out with friends over the computer, the school was being taught online, and even though life stopped, technology allowed us to find a new normal. People were getting groceries online, doing workout classes online, and full offices were now working remotely... obviously, those are things you could do before but EVERYONE was on the same page and EVERYONE was using technology to promote their business, find a new normal, or keep themselves occupied. As a tech and social media junkie, it was pretty wild to watch.

How to Pivot

The word for 2020 is 'pivot' because that's all anyone was doing. We were pivoting to a new normal and we were doing it fast. At work, we had to figure out how to do everything we do in person, online; teachers had to learn how to remote teach, gyms offered online classes, and restaurants (who never delivered) had to figure out the best way to start a takeout business. It proved that humans are resilient and will always figure out a new way of doing something when it's the only choice they had. I also think this changed industries forever because a lot of people saw that there was an inherent need to do things differently or focus on a different demographic. It turned a negative into a positive rather quickly.

Breaks Are Important

I am someone who is a natural relaxer. I need my time alone to recharge and recommit to myself. I know how to not burn myself out and how to just chill. I also know that I am not the majority and people are hesitant to give themself a break. However, when you're stuck inside for months you realize just how much you needed that break... how you just needed to stay home, be alone or with family, and chill. Learn to take care of your emotional and mental health, focus on bettering yourself, and listening to your body's cues. You are not programmed to work and be busy 24/7... you need rest and quarantine gave us all a lot of rest.

Things Can Change In a Minute

This is something I think a lot of people already know but really think about... think about the plans you had for the year and how in just a few days, they were all canceled. As a society, we are always looking for the next thing, our next vacation, our next night out... we're always waiting for something else. With the pandemic, that mindset has changed a lot of people. I think more people will plan less and learn to live in the present because they have no choice. 

Some People Need to Experience Things to Believe Them

A lot of people weren't concerned with the virus until it hit them personally... until their co-worker, their friend, or family was diagnosed. Some people cannot fully comprehend what is happening to others until it hits close to home. It's not something that I'm proud of learning, it's not something that I think is a positive, but I think it really made me think about the greater world and how there are some people who do not think like you. 

Don't Take Anything for Granted

Time is precious. We all know that but forget about time... think about spending time with your friends, your family... think about how easy it was for us to go to a bar or restaurant and not think twice. What about running into Starbucks on an early morning? What about going to school? Or your commute? Everything we knew was ripped away from us... and things that we have been doing for years. Our lives completely stopped and the 'normal' way of doing things was no longer possible. It's pretty mindblowing to think about and it really affected me in a positive way. I was a homebody before and never really enjoyed going out but now? Take me anywhere! I'm much more open to doing things and trying new activities because I know that life can stop at any moment.

I apologize if this was a little all over the place but I just felt like I needed to get my thoughts out to all of you. 

What has quarantine/2020/coronavirus taught you?



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