COVID-19 has made me think a lot. A couple of days ago I woke up at 1:30 in the morning feeling like it is time to wake up, or at least certain that I would not be going back to sleep. So I was in bed, wide awake, and chewed on thoughts that made me feel like I am running an emotional marathon even though when I returned to the present, I remembered that I have not moved an inch. Perhaps an hour or two hours have gone by, and I couldn’t even remember what I was thinking, even though it seemed so urgent while I was thinking it. I am still physically in exactly the same place I was when I woke up all that time ago. Lately, this seems to be a recent theme on the internal hamster wheel. Do you ever feel like you have run an emotional marathon even though technically, nothing specific has happened? Or things you want to change in your life but don’t know how to?
COVID-19 has changed my view on a bunch of things. What began as just an idea to own less stuff has changed the way I view myself and the world around me in significant ways. One of the changes is my reevaluation of how society defines success. Too often, those who make and spend and keep the most resources for themselves are labeled as the successful ones. However, some of the best people I know would not be regarded as successful in worldly terms. Precisely because they have decided to spend and focus their resources on less materialistic things.
These people are far too rare, or at least, they do not get enough recognition. Instead, it seems ingrained to desire and appreciate the praise and the admiration of others. And because of that, many people will compromise greater and more worthwhile pursuit for the facade of temporal, worldly success. To that end, and because of how my view of the world and its people has begun to change, I will offer a short list of things that no longer impress me:
Clothing/Accessories: Quality and manufacturing practices are important. Quality over quantity. I never bought a lot of clothing but now it is even less. I am and was never impressed by clothing, a logo on anything, shoes, a purse, or a watch. Instead, I admire people who are confident in timeless fashion and seek to make an impression by their character. Hey, by the way, while the size of the rock on someone’s finger or the jewelry they are wearing is noticed by some (the weird ones), most are not even looking and they don’t care.
Car: The goal of my vehicle is to safely transport a person from point A to point B. Reliability is important, so is comfort. Especially if I spend lots of time in it. This does not mean it has to be a Q7 or BMW X-whatever. There are other, way cheaper, and good cars out there. Most luxury cars appeal to a different motivation, they are no longer just about transportation. They often appeal to a need to broadcast success or to get noticed. Even if that means impressing strangers for a couple of seconds at a red light.
House: To me, a house is supposed to provide shelter and an opportunity for stability. Over the course of my life, I have moved many times and have experienced the pride that comes from providing and creating a home. But, I intentionally chose to downsize and rent/buy a smaller home. It is a decision I have never regretted. And to this day, when I drive past a large house, the only thing I can think of is how much happier I am in a small one. My dream is to find a small house with a (large) backyard to grow fruit and veggies.
Work: Retirement seems to be the ultimate for most people. Live life to the fullest. Enjoy every day. Work is…. well, it’s work. But, there is a life besides work and work is not everything. These days, I am grateful to still have a job. So, many people have lost everything. But if you are unhappy with your job then stop complaining. There are only solutions: Change. Find a balance. Quit that job that drains your energy. Be creative. Study. Do something. Also, I think it is important to stop impressing others with the things you own. Rather inspire them by the life you live.
To sum this up, one of the best parts of COVID-19 was to see the world through my son’s eyes. The world felt/feels so magical. It is not just a city block with buildings. We are not restricted or quarantined. The world is a giant ant hill or a maze and we need to discover new things. Other COVID-19 highlights that made me control that chaos are:
- Talking to my parents and brother. Always.
- Being loved.
- Spending time with my partner, long conversations, cake, reading (in the reading lounge), laughing together, and taking long walks. Simply, just being together.
- Getting letters and packages by mail (only the ones with a sender count).
- When the moon is out during the daytime.
- When trees are still dripping after the rain. And the awesome smell.
- Kissing and hugging.
- Picnics on a blanket.
- Observing a turtle eating a strawberry. Cute little tongue.
It is always the little things.