20 Jun How I dealt with the Covid-19 Pandemic abroad by myself
Corona – The Ups and Downs and which rules to follow
It was March 10th when I first realized that this Corona thing was actually dangerous and starts to spread out here in California. Before that day I just thought people were overreacting. Honestly, I didn’t take it seriously until that day. But then I visited my friend in Orange County who told me the “ugly truth” about this virus. She seemed to have insights from China about the mortality rate and its long-term effects. I remember sitting on the sofa at her house and feeling a harsh shiver going down my spine. The scariest part was the uncertainty about everything. That night everything changed for me. I was so in shock that on my way back to Los Angeles I stopped at a grocery store late at night and bought food cans worth more than $ 200. Yes, I even bought a can opener!! I never ate can food before!!!
The Beginning of the pandemic
From there on I followed every video and read every article in the media about this so-called Corona Virus or Covid 19. From day to day I got more scared. On top of all that I was living far away from my family, all by myself. I didn’t know what to do. And then it really happened, it came to the worst-case scenario: They officially announced a pandemic. People started running to stores and buying everything they could. Shelfs were empty, toilet paper shortages followed and there were no disinfecting wipes available soon after. It was just crazy. I have never seen anything like that. I wasn’t sure if I should go back to Austria or live through all of this alone in a foreign country. I followed the media and how the airlines started to cut down their flight’s day by day. I knew at some point it wouldn’t be possible anymore to hop on a plane and go back to Austria. But I didn’t want to leave California. I have just started a new life here. And even if I would go back to Austria, at this point airports and airplanes seemed to be the most dangerous place on earth. It scared me so much, in fact I was by myself, struggling everyday with this decision. What if I would be sick alone in a foreign continent? How bad was this virus really? I just heard horror stories from friends and saw shocking pictures on the news. Overwhelmed hospitals in “war status” were on the daily news. That was definitely not helpful.
In the Midst of the Corona Insanity
At some point I just locked myself into my room and didn’t go out at all anymore. I didn’t even go to the grocery store. I just ordered on Amazon Fresh all the time. Although it was almost impossible to get a time slot. But once a week I somehow magically managed to get a slot, after trying like a robot every single day a couple of times to get a slot. When the Amazon delivery guy finally brought my package, I didn’t even touch it for a couple of hours. I was so afraid I would get the virus just by touching the surface. Never in my life have I used so much soap and washed my hands so much. My hands have been wounded after 2 weeks of this crazy handwashing.
After a While in Quarantine
After a while though I really started to get used to the new lifestyle. The first shock was over, and I started seeing the positive side of all of that. My life slowed down and I could really feel how much of a “hustle” it was before. Suddenly I could feel how busy I was and how caught up I was in “running through life” before. Running from one place to another, from one event to another, from one person to another. Not appreciating the moment and how valuable the “journey of life” is. I was always just focused on the goal and the outcome. This virus really forced me to slow down. It forced me to appreciate all the things that I took for granted. But apart from that positive realization it was still scary “out there”. And nobody knew when and if we ever would get back to normality. At some point all international flights were cancelled.
The Ups and Downs during Quarantine
Although I had lots of things to do and the first shock was over, I started to realize that life will not go back to normality very soon. I had to face that fact and it hurt badly. Basically, there was no way out of the situation. I was stuck and I couldn’t distract myself anymore. For who knows how long. This was the moment I started facing “myself”- because I had to. I started looking myself in the mirror and I asked myself “Who am I without the external world and all its influences. Who am I without my identity and all the past moments I lived through? Who am I without my education, my race or my nationality and all those other society layers?” I couldn’t find an answer to that immediately. But I knew I had to face those questions. Over the next weeks I still never went into any public space, but I started taking walks and runs. It was a little disturbing for my mind to see all those people in masks. Every time I saw somebody approaching me on my side of the street, they immediately changed to the other side of the street. The world has changed so drastically. It felt like everybody would be my enemy. But it just felt so good to breathe fresh air again and even see people from far distance. Over the following weeks I went through emotional ups and downs that I never experienced before. I listened to many podcasts, I did some mediation, I worked, and I even started cooking. At some days I felt like this Corona thing was a great blessing and on other days I was just so desperate and frustrated about the situation. Every day felt so different. But all those ups and downs really revealed my true self to me. I couldn’t hide anymore. I saw that some of the narratives I told myself before about me and the world weren’t true. Some dreams I was chasing were not worth chasing. And I understood that my true self is that never changing soul inside. It will always be there, no matter what’s going on in the outside world. All the influences and the society created desires are all just an identity that I created for myself. And it really hurt to find that out. But I knew it was time to face that. I knew that a new journey for me has started.
The good effect of Corona and the Quarantine
Through all this fear and hardship, I could really see who my true friends are. Although there was social distancing, I felt closer to some people than I have did before. Which is kind of ironic. We were all going through the same pain and struggle. We shared our deepest thoughts and tried to help each other as good as we possibly could. Even if it was for the most part just on the phone. The Corona not only revealed my own inner self it also revealed the true nature of other people. And on a bigger scale it also revealed the true nature of our systems. Everything that was covered before was shown now. Nothing is more truthful than a system under stress.
Conclusion of Corona Life
This Corona virus has caused some emotional ups and downs that are just insane. Some days were great and some days I felt extreme pain. It was a turbulent journey for me, but it was also extremely interesting to see how influential the media is and how vulnerable the world is. The media caused a lot of fear and I think that in future it is always important to not just let the media take over but to also follow your own rules. It’s crucial to listen to both sides, the standard media and the “system criticizers” and then form your own opinion.
What I am grateful for is that this virus revealed a lot of truth. It created many good friendships and it brought people together.
No matter what reason you have for feeling strung out, allow yourself a break. Remember to take care of yourself; your body and mind are precious. Meditation is a great tool for self-care, self-development and serenity. Just a couple of minutes every day will change your whole being.