The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed many things in my life – working, shopping, or moving around. It has caused many deaths and unprecedented challenges to food systems, businesses, public health, and workplaces (Haleem et al. 78). In the beginning, the coronavirus disease did not get my attention. To some extent, I felt terrible because of the numerous adverse risks and effects that the epidemic had spelled on the world and the many health guidelines we would have to follow. The COVID-19 pandemic has had significant impacts on my life since I have changed my daily routine and learned many lessons about myself and my immediate circle of people.
Before coronavirus disease cases were confirmed in my state, I did not care much about my safety. But when the authorities announced the first incident in my area, I became overwhelmed with the changes I witnessed happening around me. The worst came when we were informed that the educational institutions would remain shut for an unspecified amount of time. Since then, life has not been the same for me again. Fear started growing larger in me, and everything changed fast. All this time, I kept thinking of the worse, especially regarding the safety of my parents, siblings, and friends. With the cases growing day by day, most of the businesses around my area remained closed, and getting even everyday necessities became a problem. I was officially ushered in lockdown, and it was a disappointing period.
Everything seemed a nightmare I could not easily escape from. However, what became worse for me was the fake and exaggerating news people kept spreading all over social media concerning the pandemic. I was happy to learn that we would continue with our online classes, meaning it was not possible to meet my other classmates and friends physically. Nevertheless, I was happy that I would proceed with my education. Before I moved away from home in the second lockdown, I was always together with my immediate family. I had a good time with them, and it always felt nice to have all gathered around the table talking to each other. I learned that my parents and siblings were caring as they checked up on me daily. Throughout the pandemic, I have seen both drawbacks and benefits of being locked down with the family for a long time. I also understand that there has been extra expense for families who were forced to deal with remote learning situations for school-age kids.
Moreover, when the second lockdown hit, I found myself in a new country and in the middle of a pandemic where I could not meet anyone. I had to learn how to live by myself for the very first time. But something would soon happen; it dawned on me that this is what other people feel like when they undergo loneliness. I was slowly starting to feel emotionally isolated, and I later had about three weeks of dealing with homesickness. It was interesting because I had always talked about loneliness and never thought I would feel the way I felt. I understood it, and even though I had lived with people, this affected me. On that note, I have a significant health challenge, which has become severe during this pandemic time. I have chronic pain, and due to the lockdown, specialist appointments have been canceled. Because of that, I am unable to get trigger point injections and cortisone shots.
Besides, I have to pay more with the limitations on prescription and because of not being able to buy the required medication. Even though this does not sound significant, you will be staring at an extra amount of $80 due to the dispensing fees when you have ten or more prescriptions. With that in mind, I started thinking of the changes and some of which we might have to live with for the longest time. Life after this pandemic will never be the same again, and the whole planet might break the agreement it had with the entire humanity unless we take a break to fix our behavior. We have started to see forecasts of all kinds, some offering hope, and others not.
At the end of these challenging times, which have personally hit me, values will change, and habits and lives will not be the same. Under the pandemic, our homes will also see numerous changes. Moving out of my country and experiencing isolation and loneliness for the first time, I believe people will want to move from the idea of apartments to houses. The initial concept of high-rise houses was to organize as many persons as possible in one place, and hygiene and health were not considered back then. In these times, it has become essential to lower contact with everything previously used in multi-story apartments, such as elevators, doorbells, elevator buttons, and mostly, neighbors. After staying in forced isolation on several floors above the ground, usually without a balcony, a house seems desperately needed. Apart from an escape from urban chaos and routine, the house now provides a retreat from infections and viruses, such as COVID-19. With all these in mind, urbanization has taken a break as people relocate to city suburbs and tiny villages.
The balcony has become my new office, as I have been forced to work from home during the quarantine. I firmly believe some would never want to return to their offices after the pandemic. For me, I would still love to meet my work colleagues and enjoy that office coffee as it was before. Much attention has been focused on the organization of the home workplace. There are spatial organizations, which will change, as people will have to modify their houses to include the new office changes; I had to undergo this.
If I were to talk to my pre-COVID 19 self, I would have given myself the advice just to go outside as much as possible and enjoy walking around while I could. I would have just prioritized to spend the shortest time possible with my computer. Again, I wish I spent more money locally before the pandemic hit. I have realized that small businesses are struggling, and I wish I had given them the support they needed before the lockdown and the pandemic. My greatest takeaway from this pandemic is how technology has done transformed relationships and approaches to work. I am no stranger to technology, but I had to adapt to new ways of working, virtual meetings via Zoom, and video communications between family members and friends. My parents also switched to homeworking as a way of preventing the spread of virus. However, at times, they would occasionally go to their offices when needed. In a few years to come, I think that teleworking will be enforced in many organizations.
From one office to another in the pre-COVID-19 times, it was easy for me to underappreciate my colleagues’ knowledge and skills. However, when I was finally separated and forced to do my work from home, I realized that we are still a family and can easily cooperate as a single team. Having technology by my side has undoubtedly helped me fill space, but knowing that I already have a strong foundation unit has made adapting to this new way of operating much better. Coronavirus disease has changed my life in many significant ways. Take something as fundamental as my encounters of space; my mobility has been restricted and reduced to short walks and jogs in the morning. I have also investigated how we, humans, relate to time, especially in a crisis such as COVID-19. This global pandemic could deprive us of what I would refer to as temporal agency. This is the ability to manage, structure, and manipulate our time experiences.
I have lost track of time, and at times, I wonder which day of the week it is, and it appears that the world has, to some extent, stopped. The most crucial feature of my time experiences during this crisis is enforced presentism, which is a feeling of stagnating and the inability to plan. I do not know when I will see my friend and loved ones again, or even take time to go for a holiday. But amid all these, it has become hard for me to imagine a future that looks so different from what we currently see.
Haleem, Abid, et al. “Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic in Daily Life.” Current Medicine Research and Practice, vol. 10, no. 2, 2020, pp. 78-79.