Will Hindsight Be 20/20 in 2020? Unforeseen Consequences of Corona Fear
I haven’t spent much time reflecting on the year. The slow pace and absence of normalcy makes for a confusing time period to mentally sift through. However, I couldn’t avoid the reflection process all together. Why? Year-end reviews!
Reviewing my year oddly wasn’t as hard or anxiety laced as usual. Instead, I mainly felt absence. Looking at my work, I wondered where my creativity and excitement had gone. Did I really not think of anything cool or funky this year? Why does my writing seem stale to me? Did I stop having ideas or were the ones I came up with just bad? Why did I feel so scrambled all the time and harried? Was that my best? Perhaps the pandemic affected me more than I thought.
I wasn’t planning on sharing this with the world, but I think the perspective the “dread Rona” has given me is something worth sharing.
The Price of Fear
I was very cautious in the beginning. I wiped down all my groceries and I only hung out outside. As time wore on though, the isolation drove me to flee to my parents’ house (as many of us young Millennials did). Coming back, the loneliness hit even harder.
That’s when I broke.
Fear gave way to a sort of manic boldness. I stopped wearing a mask when walking closely to others. I started eating indoors again and even at less-than-covid-safe bars. I went on crowded boardwalk beach vacations not once, not twice, but three times! I took Lyfts and Ubers and started having folks over to my apartment. I was still afraid, but my fear turned into, “let’s get it over with.” (I promise I didn’t actually try to get sick. Yet, here I am, suffering from what feels like a regular cold.)
And while my risk tolerance appeared high, inside, my mental health was declining.
2020 Vision Won’t be 20/20
As I reflect on this dumpster fire of a year, I realize that the usual clarity that follows a struggle may not appear for quite some time – we’re still in this y’all!
Looking back, I see how fear of the virus rooted itself deep into my heart and shadowed my every choice. This fear was so quiet I hardly noticed it, which is why I thought I was handling this whole pandemic Armageddon better than I actually was.
See “fear is the mind killer.” Fear took up valuable space in my head, making me less creative, more sluggish, more scatterbrained, and even unmotivated. I was still achieving my goals, but I remember wondering all year, “where has my head been.” Now I have a good answer, but again my sight is still distorted.
As I sit here chewing Airborne tablets like candy, I can see the cloud of fear for what it was all year long – and that it’s not finished with me yet. After all, I have a light case. I can fall ill again after the two months of joyful antibody protection. And next time, I may not be as lucky.
However, seeing the cloud clearly means I can be ready for when it threatens my creativity or sense of self in 2021.
Taking Back Our Health
So what about you my friends? Has fear been quietly taking up space in your mind? Has it influenced your choices or even changed core aspects of your youness like it has me?
You aren’t alone. But know this, you can take back control. Just as covid ravages the body, the pandemic wreaks havoc on our mental health.
As lockdowns continue and the general consensus leans towards fear, I hope you will remember little old me and my advice. Keep folks around you that will be open about their fear and share it with you, but who also can take your mind off it and remind you of who you are. I’m not sure we can ever really banish our fear of coronavirus while we’re in it, but we may be able to use it to draw closer together and hone in on the parts of us that matter most. With any luck, we will make it out of this with a strength of character and better understanding of ourselves than we had before.
Name the fear, tell a friend, and live your life. It’s still pandemic season but at some point we will get through it and see this mess for what it was, just another season of life.