Mindful: Lessons for a 20-something through Covid

There's growth to be recognised, even in the period where everything seems static.

  • 06.10.2021

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My inner circle and I have been pondering over this lately: We’re spending the last year of our 20s and possibly ringing in our 30s in the midst of a pandemic. To put it bluntly, we’ve been aging in our rooms. Well, everyone around the world is, but it almost feels like we’re missing out on the peak or rather the prime time of our lives. A time where we’re single, free, and well-abled financially and emotionally, yet bounded by this thing called a deadly virus with no foreseeable end in sight.

In present conversations, we speak of pre-Covid times like it’s a bygone era. A time where we could shake hands, dance with a stranger, travel leisurely, and many more normalcies we didn’t know would have been deemed as privileges in the near future. These are certainly odd times, and two years of living in a pandemic also means renouncing the term ‘unprecedented’ entirely, in accepting that this is the norm. Like it or not, this is history in the making.

The fact is, I go back and forth about my feelings towards Covid. There are experiences I’ve gained because of it, and experiences I’ve lost because of it. And while two years of living with it seems like we haven’t accomplished much at all with our lives coming to a standstill, it’s hard to refute that certain perspectives have shifted and changed as a result of it. Essentially, things are still moving, just in a different direction. Lessons were learnt, and quite possibly barrelled towards the distant future where a virus doesn’t exist. There’s growth to be recognised, even in the period where everything seems static. 

No shame in putting yourself first

One might feel that self-care is yet another echo chamber proclaimed by yogis and essential-oil fanatics, but it certainly is more than that. The pandemic did put plenty of things into perspective, including sieving out all the unnecessary toxicities that you shouldn’t have to live with. Life is honestly, too short to do that. Sure, I find unspeakable joy in Sunday Bedding sheets and burning a candle to wind down, but I also delight in indulging in fried carbs or declining a social gathering because I don’t feel like it and not because I’m not free. Do whatever makes you feel good and that’s self-care in a nutshell.

There’s liberation in exercise

Making the decision to start exercising three years ago has been undoubtedly, one of the best decisions I’ve made. A leaner and toner physique is one thing, but gaining strength has been the underlying reward above it all. Especially when the pandemic took ownership of our lives, persisting in working out felt like a small victory I had over the virus. It’s a simple act to feel strong, which does wonders for a dreary day.

I get the hype about running now

Running is freeing, running is fun, and most importantly, running is free (literally and figuratively). In a phenomenal chain of events, in between the closure and opening of gyms, I found my own rhythm in running. It is also a great daily reminder to be thankful for my body and what it can do everyday. It’s non-competitive, perfectly anti-social, and the easiest way to empty your head. And honestly, no different from walking outside, with twice the pace piled on. Just don’t compare yourself to the next jogger on the same path and you’ll be okay. 

A new outfit isn’t as important as it was before

This realisation started when Circuit Breaker happened last year, but now even as we’re free to resume our activities outside, I’ve been increasingly conscious of what I add to my wardrobe. Nothing related to purchasing sustainably-sourced threads, but rather wearing whatever I’ve already clocked up in the past decade. If I do spot something that I fancy, I think about its longevity, if it would still be something I would wear ten years from now.

Never say never when it comes to new experiences

Not to be that cliche who found solace in the open arms of a boy group (shoutout to GOT7), but I’m that cliche. And I’ve come fully to terms with it (see point No.1 above), albeit still puzzled at how its prowess works. In the span of a month, I went from 0-100 with my newfound interest. Being a part of the fandom has its way of making one feel seen — by people who you haven’t even spoken to or met. It’s honestly hard to feel alone or lonely these days. It has also opened my eyes to what other possibilities I could be in the future — who knows, a translator for fan-made videos? All I can say is, my life will never be the same again. So thank you, seven boys whose names I want to scream out one day in a concert.

There are things that are still scarier than Covid

When you’re accustomed to Covid in a way that we live with the common flu, there are bigger things to worry about. Health scares have always been a part of my life. Top of the list, cancer. An unpredictable illness that has been running in my family since I was young, and very recently, it resurfaced like a toxic old flame you had sworn never to cross paths with ever again. Sometimes, it could be pretty consoling to direct your focus to the bigger enemy instead. No life coach is going to recite this, but there’s some sort of warped comfort in knowing that there’s always going to be something bigger than the current looming crisis.