How the Pandemic Changed Me
The thing is, I was happy with my life.
I was content. I was “happy” with my life. Pre-pandemic, I was happy teaching, having a full-time job, writing at night, and going to church on the weekends. But thinking about it now, that was all I did. I can say I was happy or contented. But if you see the big picture, you might say I became complacent. Yes, I had dreams — traveling the world, writing a book, taking a master’s degree, but I thought I wouldn’t be able to do all of them. I was contented. I settled for less because I thought this is where God has placed me.
But the pandemic woke me up. The thought of “This could be the last time I do this.” actually crept up my mind, and it occupied my thoughts on more-than-often occasions. During the pandemic, I stopped being complacent. I set my sights on bigger dreams, more impossible dreams. If my college or fresh graduate self knew what the future had planned out for me, she would have laugh, shake her head, and brush off what I said. But I knew it would linger on her mind.
The pandemic made me realize we only live once. It woke me up. It made me want, no, it made me need to experience the most out of my life. I began hiking and working out. I want to take myself out on solo dates while I’m still single. I want to write a novel — a best-selling novel. I want to travel to Europe, then go surfing in Latin America. I want to climb Mount Everest, and freedive and scuba dive while I still can. I want to learn how to swim, so that when I cliff-dive somewhere in Greece, I won’t have an irrational fear of drowning. I dream of surfing and staying for a few weeks in Siargao. I want to volunteer in Latin America and visit the glorious Macchu Picchu.
The pandemic has put all of my dreams on hold. I think it did for most of us. It delayed the timeline I had in my head. But in doing so, the pandemic also woke me up. The past two years have shaken me to my core. I want to experience everything. I want to live and not care about what other people think. I want to have near-death experiences that give me a thrill and remind me we only live once. I want to do everything. I want to feel everything.
The pandemic made me realize I was settling for less. It woke me up — telling me not to waste my life, and to dream bigger.