2020 has been marked by uncertainty, grief, loss and discomfort.
As a 21-year-old college student, my future is uncertain. I don’t know if my senior year of college will feel normal. I don’t know what the workplace will look like when it’s my turn to enter it. I am also faced with the grief of losing community members and family friends to COVID-19.
My whole world was flipped upside down when I had to leave my college town and move in with my family last spring. The comfort of my routines and plans was taken away. I, like the rest of the world, am living in new territory and navigating my way through a new reality. It’s uncomfortable to say the least.
Discomfort has always been an unwelcome guest in my life. It likes to disrupt my schedule, interrupt my habits and rearrange my life, which is hard for a perfectionist like me who loves a good plan. Before the pandemic, I enjoyed my daily routine—morning walks to class with a coffee in hand. The nerd that I am thrived in the classroom and loved interacting with my professors and classmates. I looked forward to every moment with my friends, and I cherished our close proximity.
The first day of “quarantine school,” as my friends and I call it, was so strange. My routine morning walks to class were replaced with a few steps to my family’s dining room. My class schedule was transformed into online videos and PowerPoint lectures. My friends are now hours away. My world changed almost instantly, and I came face-to-face with discomfort of change.
My world changed almost instantly, and I came face-to-face with discomfort of change.
I am grateful that COVID-19 hasn’t affected my physical health, but it has affected other areas of my life that I am still grappling with. I am an extrovert who loves human interaction. As soon as news of the pandemic made its way to America, human interaction went out the window. I miss dinners with my roommate and late night movies with my friends. Weekend trips, my sorority events and my senior ring ceremony were all canceled.
Discomfort has been a constant friend of mine since the pandemic. It comes in the form of talking to a video camera, the constant feeling of never knowing the right time to speak in a phone call, wearing a mask in public and not knowing what the next year will look like.
Despite the uneasiness that comes with change and disrupted plans, I am choosing to not fight how I feel. Instead, I am choosing to embrace the discomfort. I have come to realize that discomfort is a lot like growing pains. It can be an opportunity for positive change. I have had plenty of time to evaluate my pre-pandemic life. As much as I miss the comfort of those days, I know that here in the discomfort, there are opportunities for me to grow.
I am choosing to not fight how I feel. Instead, I am choosing to embrace the discomfort.
Since the pandemic began, I have become grateful for the little things in life like drives to get ice cream with my brothers and making puzzles with my parents. I have become more patient with my loved ones, kinder to strangers and more gracious toward myself. I have had time to evaluate who I am and who I want to be.
We are living in a time that will be written about in history books. I keep asking myself the same question: Am I living a life that my children and grandchildren will be proud of? I recognize areas of my life that need a little remodeling. If I want to be open to change, then I, too, must be open to discomfort.
As we continue to quarantine and grapple with the pandemic, I hope we are all able to recognize ways that we can grow. I want to walk away from this season clinging to the good that came out of it. Moving in with my family has given me precious time with them that I may have never gotten. I have had time to learn new skills and turn my photography hobby into a business. Most importantly, I have been learning new ways to love the people around me.
I hope that we can come out of this season with a renewed sense of purpose and “on mission” to make the world a better place. We need each other, and we need the good that can come out of a little discomfort.
How has your world changed since quarantine? What good has come out of the discomfort?
Image via Martha Salvan, Darling Issue No. 16