Love in the Time of COVID
I bet you clicked on this article thinking it was going to be about romance, relationships or other things to do with the stereotypical meaning of “LOVE.” However, this is about reflecting, rekindling and mending old relationships. My deep reflection started a few months before COVID-19 officially began. I came down with a severe illness that left me bedridden and unable to work. The experience took many twists and turns, ranging from trying to maintain a liquid diet in order to starve the virus to taking antibiotics, which hurt my stomach, which led me back to a liquid diet, which led me to a point of extreme starvation, to the point that I finally had to push through the pain of eating. I spent many days in bed crying, attempting to understand the purpose of this journey, and meditating on my life. The experience has led me to understand some serious truths. 1. Life is short Even as a relatively “young” person, I never expected to come down with an illness this severe. The experience has been compounded by the few young people I have known who have actually contracted COVID, and the frequency of stories I have heard of people actually passing away from it. LIFE IS SHORT. While it is frightening to realize that a terminal illness can strike at any time, that is the fundamental truth at the moment. Thankfully, the body has an innate capacity to heal, and most of us will survive. However, for some reason, whether it is fate or karma or just life being arbitrary, some people do not make it. This leads to the second truth. 2. TELL THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE, YOU LOVE THEM This entire experience has led me to believe that the petty arguments of childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, late adulthood or whenever, are just that, petty arguments. When people are dying on a global scale by the hundreds of thousands, and millions of others are facing serious illnesses, what happened in the past can seem trifling and irrelevant. I have, thus, begun a serious attempt to reach out to past loved ones and express everything in my heart – the apologies for being stubborn, the immense love I have for these people, and the gratitude and joy I feel for having reconnected. Most of the people to whom I have reached out have been receptive. I am still in the process of rekindling relationships or setting up phone calls, FTs and social-distance gatherings with the now-expected facemasks. Some of the relationships I have rekindled are at different levels than others. Some have fallen through, which as a sensitive person hurts. But I believe in the fundamental truth that everything happens for a reason, and that everything that happens is exactly as it is meant to be. All I can do is accept and celebrate the people who I have welcomed back into my life. 3. Enjoy the moment This is definitely something I am still learning. However, what I realized is that every moment I have spent worrying about my health or the future has taken me out of the present. I also realized that I have spent much of my life like this, prepping for the future, waiting for life to get better, wishing I was anywhere but in the now. What I have also realized is I have had THE MOST FUN and feel most in awe of a particular day or experience when I am present.
Life is now.