100 days of “coronatude”

When I first sheltered at home, I figured, a couple of weeks and I’d be back to pursuing my hectic New Yorker life. How wrong was I? How wrong were we all? Covid threw us a curve ball. Was it right to lock down the world? Should we have let it rip? Is corona virus part of a larger conspiracy theory? Who knows and how does it matter? We can’t turn back the clock.

What we should do is reflect on our learnings and implement them going forward. But, if television visuals are anything to go by, virus fear is already a thing of the past. The human race has a short memory. First the fear of death. Then the bane of discrimination. Now the political battle. Some issue always crops up to replace an older concern. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em and the vicious cycle continues.

I didn’t join any of them and stayed put for one hundred days. As an asthmatic I was initially wary and behaved with caution. As the weeks passed, that myth was debunked but I was beginning to enjoy tapping into my inner core. And as more days went by, I decided to go the whole hog and make it a milestone. I watched as winter turned to spring and now, the first day of summer has rolled up. Just a hop skip and jump away, protesters converge daily. I’ve sent support vibes and marvel at how they’ve kept their foot on the gas since Memorial day. Meanwhile my screens are my eyes to the world.

But the point of this piece is not about looking outside. All through my new normal, I’ve been sharing views about life beyond these walls. But, as the finish line looms, I’m less excited about ending quarantine. Has life within the confines of my home transformed me? I read a beautiful article by Pico Iyer where he talks about immersive travel and the joys of staying indoors. It’s about new eyes not new journeys. In this world of labels, Iyer calls it right. Silence is non-denominational. My first aim, post hibernation, is to get more moments of quietude. Of self-reflection.

And I’ve done a fair share of that. Being home freed me to read more. Learn from documentaries. Watch shows and movies. Join webinars. Listen to music. As I grew, I faced my failures. Why do I never remember lyrics? Is it because I can’t understand them or I’m lazy about trying? And why did I never fight for myself and always give in? As a bleeding heart, I volunteered myself to causes but, without my family. What stopped me from including my kids? I chased chimeras but never belled the cat. Is my legacy one of cowardice? I need to step up. Become a mentor and example to my children. Stop preaching and start practicing.

Which is what I’m trying to do. Finally I’m letting my kids affect my thinking. The parent has become the child. When did they grow up? They know so much about world events. They have facts and figures. I have passion. The young and old, the millennials and boomers, Gens X, Y and Z, we all have to collaborate to effect change, that elusive state everyone is chasing. Are we ready for it? Do we fear change? What will it look like? Will leaders accept the need for change? Will the same state of affairs persist? But then again, isn’t change the only constant?

What will my role be in changing the world? I have to find that answer. Because in doing that, I’m rescuing myself.



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