Coronavirus

People Tell Us the Ways Covid-19 Has Them Rethinking Their Entire Lives

"Take the trip, ask for the sabbatical, move overseas."
27 March 2020, 1:56am
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Image: Anthony Tran for Unsplash 

There's nothing like a worldwide pandemic to tear the fabric of modern life to shreds and make you grieve almost every thread of it. For many of us, that's shaping an idea of how we want to re-patch our lives when this nightmare ends. We asked people to tell us about that.

Sanita, 23, New Zealand
It's sounds super sad, but this has made me realise how socially withdrawn I've been. I had so many chances to expand my social circle and generate more social activity in my life, but I kept putting it off. Now I wish so much I'd done more of that, when it was actually (in hindsight) very easy to do. I'd at least have more people to FaceTime with now. It's made me more motivated than ever to compensate for that, when this is all over.

Ben, 32, UK
This virus has taught me to just fucking do it. Take the trip, ask for the sabbatical, move overseas. Mainly travel stuff, I guess. Travel is so important to me but I put it off over and over again for career reasons, and now I'm kicking myself. You always think the possibility is open to you, that travel will always be there as an option. And now it's not.

Ruby, 26, US
Being cooped up at home has got me thinking how little exploring I do, in general. I stick to the same places and neighbourhoods, week after week. But now I would give anything to go and find little corners of my own city and the world, because I have a newfound and intense awareness of how much that enriches your life.

Liam, 34, Canada
I think a lot about my grandparents and how special they are, now. Sorry, sappy. But the very real threat of losing them, due to their increased vulnerability to this virus, has been a horrible shock. It's woken me up to the fact we only get limited years with them, and to treasure those years. I wish so much I could share a lovely home-cooked meal with them and a hug.

Emma, 26, New York
My immediate family all live in different countries. Every single one of us—me, my mum and dad (who are divorced), and each of my two sisters. So we are sealed off from each other now, with no idea how long for, thanks to travel bans and border closures. I don't know how to address this issue, but it's solidified in my mind how fundamentally wrong it is. Families need each other; they should live in the same country, even after divorce. Because we moved so much as a family and never had a "home" country (except for where we were born) we are now all isolated. Covid-19 has made me utterly determined not to repeat the same pattern. If and when I have a family, I'm going to do everything in my power to keep it together, at least geographically. I can't let this happen again.

Danielle, 30, Australia
This has brought home to me that our health isn't sacred. About two years ago I came down with this crazy freak autoimmune disease called Reactive Arthritis; it came on overnight and within a week I couldn't walk anymore or use my hands. Long story short, it took about six months before I was approved to go on some miracle medication that quite literally changed my life and got me walking and out of pain. The pay off? They turn off my immune system. What this pandemic has really gotten me thinking is how serious having no immune system can actually be, in a world where people don't identify young healthy looking people with being "at risk".

Pallavi, India
For the last few months, I had been thinking of the "right" moment to move to Singapore, my boyfriend's country, and now I swing between complete despair over not having done that soon enough, and utter helplessness that maybe it's too late.

Therese, 28, Singapore
For the most part, I think the pandemic has put things in perspective for me. I used to be so focused on figuring out "the next thing" for my career, travel, relationships. But now I'm forced to live in the present, which is something I was never good at. It's a good exercise, and probably something I should have done sooner.

Sharon, 29, Singapore
While in the early stages I was fascinated by the advent of this major catalyst, I realised that I don't want to let a pandemic become a distraction from all the other things in this world that I find important. As far as my life goes, it's the same—I'm just trying to live more consciously and adapt constantly. Do the best I can while causing the least harm possible. And I should be doing all of that regardless of what's going on in the world.

Sara, 30, Australia
I've always had an obsession with "the apocalypse". I have like fully fleshed out zombie evacuation plans [and] I will read and watch anything that has dystopian overtones. I often wondered why this is; then when the bushfires and COVID-19 hit within two months of each other, I realised that I held this obsession because I didn't realistically think anything that fucked would ever happen to Australia. My doomsday obsession was kind of like a kinky fantasy. I know I'm everything wrong with privileged white people, but honestly, I never thought that something like this would happen to this scale, in my lifetime, and now that it has, I'm pretty terrified. It's not a fun fantasy anymore.

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