From partying and going out late, to Netflix binging and staying up late; purposefully avoiding people to missing the embrace of a simple hug. What once was enjoying a nice night at home is now our prison. A simple errand run to the grocery store became stressful, eyeing every stranger that crosses your path; and fear grew every day. From talking about a virus, to facing it.
A possibility became our reality.
Within a week, life shut down. School moved online with the rest of our “social life” which doesn’t feel so social anymore. Every person felt the pressure of what was to come. Forced inside of our homes, life got hard. The simplest tasks seemed impossible. I was unmotivated, angry, confused and sad, but still encouraged to understand. School seemed pointless. Losing my job was a 100 ton brick of financial stress crashing into my chest.
I spent about 3 weeks in bed. “Keep a good sleep schedule” was one of the recommendations to get through this. What they didn’t know, is keeping a good sleep schedule when you don’t have school, work, or friends to go see, is about as hard as getting out of bed when you’re sick. At least that’s how I felt, sick. Sick with anxiety that is. Staying up until 8am because anytime I closed my eyes my mind and heart were having a race. So I slept in until 3pm and still took sporadic naps throughout the day. “Another day wasted.”
As depressing as this all sounds, there is a point.
Change; it’s new, it’s foreign, it’s confusing; it takes time to get use to. Everyone had to go through a big change in a short amount of time, with little warning, sorta like puberty. And that’s my point.
I got use to the change. So much so, I decided to use all this free time I now had on my hands to my advantage. I decided to get my life back together.
Before, I was too busy to think about myself. I worked and went to school full time. I went from school to work to bed. I worked weekends and never considered giving myself a night off. My mind was filled with school work, and schedules, and getting enough hours, and being able to afford this and that. I didn’t have time to think about what I was doing it all for, I didn’t have time for my future.
But it’s different now. I have the time.
I applied for unemployment and was accepted. I now had the money to afford my bills. I cleaned my room so I could be more productive. I made a plan to accomplish one task a day, whether it be laundry, homework, cooking, getting ready, or even just going for a walk.
I started taking more care of my skin and of my body. I cooked meals instead of eating ramen and microwavable pizza.
I started running, yes, you heard me. I started running everyday and working out. It was hard, but it felt amazing to do something hard that at the end of the day made me feel proud of myself. And I went on hikes, something I missed so much.
Anytime I was so bored or wanted to take a nap, I left. I got away from the naps and got my sleeping schedule on track. When I left I went on a drive. I would take drives up the canyon and take pictures. Taking photographs is my passion, yet for months I let school and work get in the way of that, but not anymore. I take full advantage of this time that I now have.
I had time to find my dream. To find my future. I applied to the University of Oregon. I finally knew where I wanted to go. My mind had a break from all the stress I had before. I could finally breathe. I wasn’t scared anymore to face a dream that was going to be hard to achieve.
Now, I’m not here to brag, although I’m not afraid to say that I am proud of what I’ve made of myself. I’m here to say it’s possible. It’s possible for good to come out of something so destructive. What I’ve done isn’t going to do the same for everyone, but what does work is trying. It’s not giving up on life right now.
It’s riding the rollercoaster.
Take the up and downs as they come. Having bad days doesn’t have to be bad. Take the day to feel down, to rest. But, when you start to feel yourself rising again, that’s when it’s time to take life by the handle and ride. Do something you’ve always wanted to do, try something new, try something hard. You can even do something you know you enjoy.
Don’t stay inside all day. Feel the sun on your face, feel the wind that surrounds you. Go for a drive with the music blasting and the windows rolled down. Blast music in your room and dance like no one is watching. Do whatever it is you have to do to make you happy.