In my recent posts, I have covered a variety of pandemic experiences. It all started when my friend in California posted about his ER visit on Facebook. With his permission, I shared his story in The Stories That Don’t Make Headlines.
His story inspired me to start the Tell Me About Yourself series by asking my other friends about their experiences in the time of Coronavirus. I learned things about them that I would not have known otherwise—or at least known as quickly and as deeply.
In the Tell Me About Yourself series, we last heard from my de facto cousin in Manila. Now we will return to the US and learn about the COVID-19 pandemic experience of my cousin in the Chicago area.
This cousin is making the most out of her time while social distancing and living in quarantine. She is proudly independent and enjoying solitary time, but she still finds herself missing people. (Who knew that could happen?)
There is an innate need for human connection even when you are independent.
What are you feeling a strong need to have during this pandemic?
The past few weeks, we have followed the pandemic stories of my friends on the West Coast, East Coast, and Midwest. Now we will travel around the globe to the Philippines—virtually of course—and hear from one of my relatives in Manila.
Since COVID-19 has grown across the world, there has been much discussion on defining who and what is essential: essential workers, essential businesses, and essential services.
Since then, I reached out to my friend who lives in Iowa. I was curious to learn how much her life has changed as someone who resides in a small Midwestern town, which is nowhere near any current epicenter of the Coronavirus.
Unlike the first two people I mentioned, she has noticed more benefits in her life since this pandemic started. She is well aware of how this is different from many other people’s stories and is upfront about that fact.
Since she told me how her life has become more convenient, I have heard from other friends who have made similar comments. Of course, nobody wants this virus to continue; however, several have confided in me that their forced lifestyle changes due to the pandemic have compelled them to reevaluate how they approached their life prior to COVID-19 and how they want to seize each day moving forward.
How has the Coronavirus made you reevaluate your life?
Today we are switching gears from the West Coast to the East Coast. I am sharing the experience of my other friend, whose office is based in New York City and who is currently working remotely.
She and I did a Q&A. After reading the transcript of it, I related to her experience in three ways:
The stress of observing others who do not take precautions in public: As a breast cancer patient, I too get stressed when others do not practice social distancing and other recommended public health measures.
The annoyance of not having your typical outlets for self-care: What do you do when your usual suspects for coping, relaxation, and entertainment are no longer safe? I’m still figuring that one out.
The frustration of family planning being put on hold: Although I am not trying to have a family this minute, both cancer and this pandemic are not making it easy for me to have babies.