Five Things I Learned from the COVID-19 Pandemic


When the pandemic began, I was completely enthralled, knee-deep in breastfeeding and being a new mom with all the bells, whistles, and stress that came along with it. COVID-19 was very scary. I started worrying about what the pandemic meant for my family and my premature newborn, who had to visit the hospital every two weeks. However, I quickly became used to and constantly researched how COVID-19 was transmitted, how to prevent it, and everything in between.

Over the past year, I have become pandemic savvy; I have gotten familiar with the protocols and how to protect myself and my family. However, the constant increase in cases and the introduction of new variants have me in a tailspin, like how many variants can there be?! will things ever go back to normal? And most importantly, will the social restriction caused by the pandemic negatively affect the socialization and development of small children?

I think I can speak for everyone when I say… I am so over COVID-19! I am over wearing masks, social distancing, and being restricted. I didn’t go out much pre covid but being told that I can’t make me want to go out every day! I’m like some kids who do something simply because their parents tell them not to!

COVID-19 has turned the world upside down. It has been extremely difficult, but surprisingly, it has been an eye-opening game-changer. COVID-19 has taught me so much about myself and what is truly important. Here are some things I learned from COVID:

1 – Family Is The Most Important Thing In Life

Being cooped up inside with nothing but your thoughts and your family put things into perspective. I could spend more time in thought and introspection reviewing my path, my goals, and how to ensure that I am fulfilling my purpose on this earth. I could also spend quality time with my family. I saw my sisters and brother more. With every visit, we would chat for hours. It made me wondered why I was not doing this more often. I felt so at peace and aligned, like everything was right in the world. I could not only survive the restriction but thrive; the pandemic became a momentary afterthought.

The way I felt reinforced the idea that family is indeed everything. Family can help you weather any storm. The time we spend stressing and worrying about things we cannot control is futile. What is important is the energy and time we put into the people we love.

2 – When In Doubt, …Just Fry It!

Being at home more often, meant that I was eating more, I would make several trips to the refrigerator and just stand there, hoping that something I was in the mood for would pop up, sadly, it never did, so I had to ‘tun mi hand and mek fashion. I experimented with food, I made granola like ten times, and each time, it came out differently. I also discovered that frying as a method of cooking has gotten a bad rap. It is not as bad as it is touted to be.

I have fried cooked Irish potatoes (not recommended 😊) boiled pumpkin, (also, not recommended) cooked quinoa, chickpeas, veggie mince, and cooked carrot. While some of my experiments turned out to be epic fails, some turned out great and are now a permanent fixture in my weeknight dinner rotation.

If you are wondering if you should fry that boiled squash or cucumber, go for it. What’s the worst that can happen? It may turn out better than you thought.

3 – Life Is Too Short, Do It Now!

During the pandemic, everyone and their sister were creating a YouTube channel. People were getting creative, using their hands and minds to create business opportunities to combat the loss of income brought on by the pandemic. According to Forbes.com “The global pandemic has brought about a true boom in startups, as the number of new companies around the world has significantly surpassed the indicators of last year. Analysts predict the rate of growth of entrepreneurship in the post-Covid-19 economy will continue to be high”. Many persons have taken the plunge to start that business or write that book they were too busy to do before.

The pandemic has cost so many people their lives, families have lost multiple members, people seem to mourn every day. To date, COVID-19 has a worldwide death rate of 4.55Million of that amount, 1809, was recorded in Jamaica. This is a reminder of the fragility and uncertainty of life. There is no better time to reshape and redesign the life you want.

Now is not the time to second guess yourself or wonder if you should take the plunge and follow your dreams. Do it now, while you still have the chance. Bet on yourself, bet on your skills and your passions. Who knows, you may just be the next Mark Zuckerberg. And if you aren’t, that is ok too. What is important is that you followed your dreams, living life on your terms.

4 – Be You, Everyone Else is Already Taken

This Oscar Wilde quote has been my motto for most of my life. When I first heard it, it resonated with me. Being myself has gotten better as I age. The older I get, the less capacity I have for BS, self-doubt and pretentiousness. Like, what’s the point? The time you spend being the person you think you should be; you lose the opportunity to connect with people who would appreciate the real you. This pandemic has reinforced the idea that it pays to be different, as many persons have started successful businesses from ideas that they thought were too farfetched or different.

For years, I have read about people who have used their unique talents, skills and personality to create conglomerates. I have always thought that those people had an edge or a foot in, however, after reading about billionaires like Jack Ma who failed thrice to get into college, co-founded Alibaba, one of the most successful e-commerce businesses in the world. And Jeff Bezos, who started Amazon, the largest online store in the world from his garage.

The success of these persons reinforced the notion that you can succeed if you are true to yourself and go for your dreams. The idea you have that you think is stupid may be what the world is waiting for. But it will never see the light of day if you are not true to yourself.

5. Your Job Is Just That!…. Your Job!

Pre-Covid and motherhood, I was hyper-focused on my job. Whenever I made a mistake or disagreed with or got criticized by someone, I would dwell on it for days. It affected my ability to sleep and disturbed my peace of mind. When COVID began, all the workplace politics and interpersonal squabbles became insignificant. I could get my work done without interfacing with people, and it was magic.

Working from home, although difficult with a toddler, allowed me to focus on the job and not on the people. Freeing up time to spend with my family. This taught me that all the stress I had before was unnecessary. I was focusing on things that ultimately did not matter. What people at work thought of me was their business.

Now that I am physically back at work, squabbles, opinions of others and disagreements don’t faze me as much. I may get upset, but I quickly get over it and move on, remembering that what I do is simply that it is not who I am.

Conclusion

Jamaica has been through three waves, with each wave becoming more deadly and severe. When each subsided we thought, oh, this is it, it can’t get any worst!… but it did! Regardless of how much we protected ourselves, we were going out and interfacing with people, so there was a possibility of contracting the virus. With everything that was happening, our approach determined our ability to survive each wave with all our mental faculties intact.

The pandemic is difficult, however, if you take the time to allow yourself to accept what it is teaching you, you may come out the other side more focused, aware and with a renewed sense of purpose.

Hope You Enjoyed 🙂

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