After a turbulent year, we asked our writers to think of what they have learned this year. For Grese Sermaxhaj, it was finding light during a darker time.
In early January 2020, while I was discussing with my boyfriend about the first coronavirus case in Wuhan, China, I could have never imagined that it would spread all over the rest of the world in the blink of an eye. Let alone imagine that I would write a piece about it with the virus flowing in my veins.
Well, not many things about this year were imaginable or predicable. Neither for me, nor for you.
Since the beginning of COVID-19 pandemic, quarantine and to this day, many of my pieces have been concerning the multi-layered impact of this virus in our lives and our future.
However, as we are stepping into the holiday season, we here at Youth Time decided to wrap up this year on a happier note, as much as we possibly can.
Along these lines, I have chosen to share some key takeaways from my personal experience with the pandemic, quarantine period and my infection with COVID-19.
I have named them The Three Joys.
Each and all of them are simply common, and I was familiar with them way before this pandemic began. Nonetheless, it was thanks to this pandemic that I fully lived, contemplated and appreciated them. It is thanks to this pandemic that I am listing them as my top reasons to look forward to 2021.
The Unique Joy of Myself
From the beginning of March until the beginning of June, I have spent most of the time alone. As you may expect, this was the most time spent alone in ages.
Surely, I used this time to sleep more, binge watch movies and shows, work in the late evenings when I am the most productive, and cook at home every day. This was a time which naturally caught me off-guard, from feeling anxious when the new restrictions and measures were taking place, to finding joy in everyday ordinary things that I have forgotten could be so enjoyable.
As the days were passing by, enjoying my own company became a sweet, healthy way not to surrender to pandemic.
As the saying goes: “You spend most of your life inside your head. Make it a nice place to be.”
On the flip side, spontaneously, this time also served the purpose to better understand and value the meaning of the others in my life.
The Unique Joy of Others
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, I had never even thought about what it feels like to want to go out with friends, or go to the cinema, or to enjoy the fundamental freedom of movement, and not being able to.
During the lockdown, I even re-evaluated the most important relationships in my life. Since then, I have promised myself that I will appreciate the presence of the other people in my life.
We will never know when is the last time we are doing something, or seeing someone. In support of this, recently, due to the pandemic, I have not seen two very close people to me for two months. However, the last time I was with them, it was supposed to be just a casual day, as casual as COVID-19 allowed us. Still, we ended up not meeting each other for a very long time.
The Unique Joy Called The Present
Valuing and respecting myself or the others, their time and presence, is almost impossible if I don’t fully live in the present moment.
I am sure you have heard this many times. But, I am also sure that this makes it no less important, living in the present is one of these things that are easier said than done.
Actually, if you are thinking in the past, bringing memories from the past, it pretty much means you are living in the past. On the other hand, if you are making plans and thinking about the future, you are also living in the future. So, how can you enjoy and live in the present?
In those 17 minutes, he elaborates how recalling an event from the past that triggers you to feel bad creates a state of being, and if a person does that in the morning, one can argue that he has started the day in the past.
As I see it, if you do not get a good grasp of understanding the present, the two first joys are destined to fail.
What Will 2021 Look Like?
Perhaps, it may look incoherent to leap from speaking about the weight of paying attention to the present to the one-billion-dollar question: “What will 2021 look like?”.
However, as it occurred to me, never before have we been so obsessed with predicting an upcoming year. So, I could not let this issue just slip aside.
Why are we somehow obsessed with predicting 2021?
This is probably because we don’t want this year to repeat ever again in human history. Ever. It is fear blended with vulnerability and love.
While we have no assurance that 2021 will be the year where we will all say farewell to COVID-19, hopes for an effective vaccine are pretty realistic and could be a major step forward.
We could not imagine that 2020 would look like this, but we can surely imagine that 2021 will look better, brighter. As the clock is ticking, we all need and deserve some cheering up.
Wrapping it up, beyond any doubt I am looking forward to 2021. It will be the first year with my own Three Joys.
Want to read more from Grese? Here is her interview with Migration Matters:
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