When Life Makes a 180
Four years and ten months ago my life did a 180° flip. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. In that moment, everything about my life changed. I suddenly realized how very precious life is; and I became acutely aware of my mortality. I was scared; and although I was surrounded by loved ones I felt completely isolated. I felt incredibly alone.
There is a social isolation that comes with cancer. Life is put on hold. You prepare for combat and then, before you have time to process the changes happening and what is to come, you find yourself in the trenches – in the thick of the battle – fighting for your life. Nothing is as it was. Your life, in that moment, feels surreal. Your life does a 180 and it never returns to normal. Instead, when the dust settles, you pick up the pieces of your life. You forge onward, slowly creating a new normal. A challenging but not impossible feat.
This is the reality of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Our lives – in the briefest span of time – have done a 180. We are being encouraged to practise social distancing – us – a species that thrives on companionships and community. Self-isolation. Distancing. Containment. The chosen vocabulary circulating popular journals and news reports. As this global pandemic swiftly shuts our society down, we – as a species – struggle to evolve. Reeling from the momentous changes that have occurred in the shortest span of time, we strive to adapt, and we endeavour to survive the loneliness, the distancing, and the inevitable fear of it all.
What does that look like? Hardship that we have never known before. A hardship that will likely leave a lasting imprint on our society. Granted, I am merely a mom living through this pandemic – just as millions of us are – directly impacted by the chaos and mayhem this coronavirus has unleashed. I have lost my job as a direct result of COVID-19; and because schools have closed I now find myself in a situation where I am home-schooling my child. I have one child. He is lonely. He cannot play carefree in the playgrounds. He cannot see his friends. He cannot partake in extracurricular activities. Our lives are indefinitely altered. We live in a moment of uncertainty. That is difficult to do, but it is not impossible. We all must learn to cope through this precarious time, for the benefit of our mental health and emotional well-being (suggestions on how to cope can be found in my previous post Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic).
Where am I going with this? Well, if I could survive a 180° shift in my life [almost] 5 years ago, I know that we can survive a 180° shift in society. It will not be easy, it will not come naturally. But – with time, patience, and creative thinking we can make it work. We will adapt. We will evolve. We will establish a new normal and learn to live within the parameters of that normal. There is no choice. Therefore, we – as a society – will brave this battle. We will figure it all out if we just work together, help one another, and continue to support each other – all from a safe distance. We will find our way through this, and when we do come out the other side, we will slowly create a new normal. And perhaps, just perhaps, we will be stronger, more resilient, and hopefully a lot more empathetic.
A challenging but not impossible feat.
When Life Makes a 180°. Published by Crystal Joy Hall
Featured Image: bongkarn thanyakij