What to do and what to say?

“We’re calling this ‘controlling what you can when things feel out of control.'” – Olaf (Frozen 2)

I didn’t want to write about what’s going on right now. Not because I wanted to be an ostrich and stick my head in the sand, but because I felt like there had to be other things to talk about.

COVID-19 has taken over our lives and our reality is that we all need to try and make a “new normal” out of our situation. My new normal started 12 days ago when I started my self-quarantine after coming back from NYC for Spring Break. I have had zero interactions with other humans besides my housemate who returned on day seven of my isolation.

Some may ask, “but Miranda, how are you not going mad?”

Oh trust me, there have been a few moments of insanity. Like the day I was convinced I had the virus when it was just my allergies. Or the day a bird flew into my house because I had the door open.

As I’ve told most people, it comes in waves. It’s funny because one of the symptoms of the virus is shortness of breath. But you know what also causes shortness of breath? Panic attacks and crippling anxiety. So some days have been difficult and it’s been hard to cope.

One of the hardest parts of all of this has been coming to terms with the fact that my senior year at Carolina will end with zoom calls and emails. No face-to-face instruction, no Last Lecture, no Bell Tower climb, no LDOC on the Quad with friends, and no commencement in Kenan. I even missed my final Dance Marathon and my last chance to stand FTK. After countless days of solitude and reflection, it’s only just become slightly easier to understand this as reality.

But right now, for all of us, the only way is forward. We quite literally will never be able to go back to the way things were and there is no point in dwelling on the past. AKA February.

Now, we have to change our thoughts on what the future looks like. We can only plan a few days in advance right now, so something like finding a job seems pretty unrealistic when we don’t even know what next month is going to look like.

As someone who has struggled openly with dark thoughts and black holes of emotions, I know that thinking about fear every day is in no way going to help me get through this. Instead, I try to focus on the positives that can be found in each day. But I’ve only been able to do this because of the support I’ve received from my friends and family via FaceTime and iMessage. Shoutout to my mom who lets me call her 4-5 times a day.

To highlight some of these positives, I’ve compiled a good old fashioned list of things that have been making me happy during this really weird time in history:

  1. Harry Potter (Books + Movies)
  2. Drinking my morning coffee outside
  3. Zoom meetings with friends
  4. Cooking
  5. Cleaning
  6. Watching movies with Maya
  7. Parks & Rec on Netflix
  8. LONG walks outside
  9. Yoga
  10. Working and keeping busy (Hey NSAC, I’m looking at you.)
  11. Coconut candles
  12. Korean skincare
  13. Al Roker’s cooking videos with his son on Instagram
  14. Baking
  15. Deep breaths
  16. Talking to friends when things get hard

All I can do right now is continue to wake up and face this new normal. The only way to deal with all of this is to walk right through it and to do it 6 feet apart from everyone else. But we all need to remember that distance doesn’t have to mean you’re alone. I’ve probably talked to my friends on the phone more times during these past two weeks than I have in my entire life. So check on your people and do it often.

With the absence of the usual activities that made us feel “normal”, I’m not sure what I’ll be writing about for the rest of the semester. I really hope I’m able to come up with content that doesn’t revolve around COVID-19, and that may end up being a piece about Leslie Knope’s one-liners or an in-depth look into the items I’ve hoarded since I came to college.

Whatever the next day, week, or month throws at us, I know we can all get through this. BUT ONLY IF PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT DISTANCE MEANS DISTANCE AND THAT SELFISHNESS WILL KILL HUMANITY IF WE’RE NOT CAREFUL. Okay, now that I got that out I won’t scream anymore.

As always, here is the playlist that has helped me carry on. It’s the Easy 60’s playlist from Spotify and it has been really fun and relaxing. I highly recommend listening to this on your next daily outdoor walk.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s