It’s been a tough year and a half since covid disrupted our lives in the March of 2020. We have been through two waves of devastating covid spread and been helplessly stuck in the eye of the storm as everything around us falls apart. As the third wave approaches, now is the time for empathy for all those that have grieved over the last year and in remembrance of the fact that not all of us braved the storm.
Of all the different experiences that i have either witnessed firsthand or heard about from others, one thing still remains aggressively surprising to me- the element of luck. While many were able to prevent infection despite constantly partying, travelling, and breaking social distancing norms; others, harmed by the unending cycle of disease, contracted covid from one trip to the dentist. The shocking surprise element of covid kept us all of our feet, and while it drove many to hypochondriachal safety and sanitary measures, it drove many to nonchalant surrender. Different people responding to covid differently, and as the world shut down and all of us needed an escape from the starkly mundane everyday of our four walled rooms, we all took to different paths.
Of all the learnings covid has taught us, the biggest one would be to empathise. And this is a learning that you perhaps can’t shame one into, or guilt one into. Because shaming didn’t stop the endless partying the first time around or the second, only increased backlash. But empathy can take us further than that. To empathise with how covid has affected us all is to remember that even if personally we haven’t lost- or been affected- someone else has been, perhaps tangible, perhaps not. To empathise is to remember that many have lost their parents, grandparents, and friends; that many have not been able to recover from covid and just letting it run through you isn’t a joke you make at the dinner table; that not wearing your mask isn’t a chad move to prove you’re better than this. Because none of us are.
I don’t know whether the third wave is coming sooner or later, and the way it’ll affect us. But I do know that the last year and a half has affected me and many around me worse than anything in their lives. Made us feel lonely in a way that still refuses to go away even when we’re surrounded by people, changed the way we look at the world around us and ourselves, left us time with our thoughts in a way we never were before. I do know that not every measure of loss during covid is in the number of people who passed away, and that statistics cant document everything it has taken from us.
I don’t know whether we will ever live in a world where we are not affected by this, in the short or long run. But I do not that for a lot of people, it’s getting incredibly difficult to survive, and for those people we must all empathise and do our best to prevent the third wave. And later, when we ask ourselves how we did it- we’ll just know that we did it because we had to.