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#AloneTogether: A personal account of navigating change during this pandemic

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2019 ended with much lustre, the promise of a new decade, and a special 2020, the hype didn’t resonate with me, but to each his/her own. 2020 has turned out to be special so far, just not in the ways we would’ve liked. Life writes the most ironic scripts, doesn’t it?

Since January, news of the coronavirus has been going around, and me, like many others, paid little mind to it because ‘it’s far away, it’ll probably not get here’. Besides, we were still coming around to other issues that were pertinent in the media at that time, like the bushfires in Australia, the prospects of WWIII (this was mostly banter tbh), Kobe Bryant’s death, etc. 

Generally, I was still distanced from the Coronavirus news hoping the world would sort itself out, till around March when it rapidly spread across Europe and the world started taking it seriously.

The way it really caught my attention had me quite salty, to be frank, when my favourite sports were postponed, I felt lost like ‘What will I do without them’. And me being a Liverpool fan and all, it took some time to get over that massive blueballs.

Following that, some of my favourite people resounded advice from the WHO; stay at home, wash your hands, social distance, and so on. Looking at things squarely, it didn’t take long for me to put things into perspective and understand my role in all of this.

I was fairly cautious before the lockdown, even when I would go to work and encounter conspiracy theorists who would make it seem like I was doing too much. Soon after, the Nigerian government mandated a lockdown, and since then I’ve been trying to get accustomed to the new normal.

Being told to stay at home by the government was much more of a problem for me than actually staying at home, maybe it’s the anarchist in me or whatever. After a day or two of complete, unbridled rest, I resolved that I have to engage in some healthy practices to keep my body and mind sharp. 

Healthy Engagements

Jogging in the mornings is quite helpful, I get some fresh air and break some sweat, I try to add some cardio before I hop in the shower. That’s that for physical exercise.

For the mental, I try to meditate as often as possible, I feel the impact on days that I get 10 to 15 minutes of stillness in the morning. Headspace unlocked some premium features and they’ve been helpful to me.

Since last year I’ve been learning some skills––graphic design, and a new language––and I’ve found more time to focus on them––even though I haven’t opened Photoshop in weeks, but let’s just free.

I’ve also been practising reaching out to people and just talking for talking sake, I’ve realized I take a lot of relationships for granted, and I want to keep practising connecting with people. I played beer pong on iMessage with a friend and we took shots every time we got a cup, that was mad fun.

Also listening to music has been visceral, just listening to music and not having it be the soundtrack to doing something else. Partynextdoor released an album a day before lockdown, and I’ve listened to that the most. Before I start sounding like a wellness guru, I’ll tell you about the unhealthy practices I’ve been engaging in. 

Not so Healthy Engagements

Firstly, I’ve been binging social media a lot, especially Instagram; I enjoy watching different people on Live, Quarantine Radio and Eva Apio are my faves, and I’ve enjoyed some others that don’t come on as frequently. Now, it’s not that I think Instagram Lives are unhealthy, it’s just that too much of anything upsets balance, and that saying vividly shows in the amount of money I’ve spent on data bundles so far.

I started drinking mainly out of boredom, and no access to weed, it’s still quite fun, but habits sneak up on you, and I don’t wanna come out of this with a drinking problem. Another thing I would like to handle better is my to-do list, on disciplined days I write and stick with it, but disciplined days have been few and far apart. 

Spiritual Ruminations

This period hasn’t been only about what I do, but how I can interpret things on a cosmic or spiritual level. I’ve been thinking that the way we have adapted to curb this pandemic is showing us that there is more than one way to live.

Not so long ago, the thought of slightly straying from the capitalist hamster wheel would have spelt descent into chaos, but it has not been so. Time away from work may allow people to evaluate what really matters to them, and the best direction that energies should be focused on to improve life experience.

The earth has benefitted from a break from humans, it’s having its own moment to breathe. I’ve come across images of visible mountains and landscapes that have been clouded for decades due to pollution, and I hope such imagery would contribute to positive movement in the climate change issue. It would be a shame if, after all of this, we just went back to ‘normal’.

Advice To Go

I’ll leave you with some great advice that I’ve heard recently; don’t check the news too much, it could further feelings of helplessness and despair. Take things day by day, and don’t obsess over resuming normality because no one is sure how long this will take. 

Be kind to yourself, try not to guilt-trip yourself for not being a productivity machine right now, we’re in a global pandemic, life is not work, life is life. 

Stay connected. Express gratitude to healthcare workers around you, they are our warriors on the front line right now. Lastly, try not to spread fake news about the pandemic, out of respect for those who have lost their lives, and those who have lost loved ones.

Nasir Ahmed Achile

Philosophy nut. I recommend Albert Camus and Eckhart Tolle to everyone I know.

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