Photo / Victoria Gasca

The slower pace of pandemic life created time to enjoy the small wonders.

Column: the pandemic caused life to slow down – in a wonderful way

Anyone that was asked to predict where they would be in five years back in 2015 was definitely way off. I never would have guessed I would be adjusting to virtual high school and wearing face masks during the weekly grocery run. My entire life shifted dramatically very fast due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For one, I have always enjoyed keeping myself busy, but that changed in 2020. It was strange for my workload to lessen and my schedule to be cleared up to the point of being nearly empty some days. I felt guilty for relaxing and taking time for myself, so I spent my time cleaning, studying extra hard for the SAT, and writing. All the activities I was doing to pass the time made me feel unhappy and lonely. I realized I needed to find new outlets and new coping mechanisms.

I started letting myself sleep for up to ten hours and eating healthy. Throughout high school, I ate badly at lunch or didn’t eat at all. I also didn’t drink water and slept five to six hours at night. When I started taking care of my body, I felt like a different person. I had this energy that I hadn’t felt since I was a little kid. I felt happier and more social, which was important in order to maintain friendships and other relationships in quarantine.

I learned to always be productive from my mom, who always worried and worked in order to mold a future for me. I don’t think I ever saw my mom lay in bed and watch a movie on the weekends growing up. She was always busy cleaning, cooking, working, organizing, and running errands. However, in quarantine, she too learned to slow down and notice all the little, beautiful things that previously went unnoticed – things like the pronounced colors of the sky at sunset, the pleasure of company at the dinner table, and the way sweets taste even sweeter when you eat slower.

Now, we always make time to eat dinner together, admire the world around us, and take care of ourselves – without feeling hurried, pressured, or guilty. While I may not have guessed this is what life would become, I’m grateful for the lessons I have learned because I’m not sure how I would’ve learned them otherwise.

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