REFLECTING ON OUR EXPERIENCES

Whether directly, or indirectly, we have all been impacted by the Corona Virus Outbreak of 2019. This global pandemic will undoubtedly impact many facets of our lives, some of which we are already beginning to witness. Our economy is declining, people are losing their jobs, and human interactions are almost exclusively online.  

 

Now more than ever we are keenly aware of the privileges we took for granted for so long. The other day I remarked to my partner that I wished I could just walk down the aisles of Target. I don’t need to buy anything, and I don’t even particularly like Target—but I sure miss the ease with which I could perform simple tasks before.

 

Everything feels different now, as if we have been transported to a different country and must quickly adapt to the cultural norms and expectations. Face masks and gloves are the new norm; it surprising when we come across those who elect not to wear them. What was once a simple, albeit tedious, trip to the grocery store now feels like an adventure straight out of the comic series Mad Max: Fury Road. Taking a walk through the neighborhood feels like a game of Frogger, but instead of dodging cars I am dodging strangers who don’t stay at least six feet away. 

 

It’s ironic, isn’t it? A parasite, which most scientists don’t even consider to be a living organism, less than one micron in size, is responsible for so much death, pain, chaos, and change. Perhaps you are a graduating high school student who won’t get to attend prom or your graduation. You might be a parent or grandparent unable to visit your children or grandchildren. Some of us are doing our best to work from home, others are in the midst of the fray, while still others have lost their job. 

Yet not all of the change resulting from this pandemic is negative. Our respect and consideration for one another is unspoken yet evident: we stay at home if we can and we keep our distance from each other. Our earth is slowly healing as less of us are driving and nature trails are closed. Air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions have decreased, and animals are emerging to explore their land.

 

Our experiences in this time are unique, yet we share many of the same thoughts, feelings, and motivations. Regardless of our experiences, we are mourning something lost, missing the loved ones we cannot visit, striving to take care of ourselves and each other, learning to navigate this new era, discovering something new, rethinking our future, and so on.

 

To those who have lost a loved one, their job, or something else they value deeply due to this pandemic, I am truly sorry. We know that time does wonders to heal us, but it never erases pain or replaces what was lost. My goal is not to deny or diminish the overwhelming negative impacts of this global pandemic. Instead, I hope to offer a space for people to share their stories of the secondhand positive impacts of this pandemic.

           

Perhaps you have had more time to spend with family or a loved one. You may have reached out to speak with a friend you haven’t heard from in far too long. Maybe you picked up a new hobby or finally had the chance to revisit an old one. Has your creativity been sparked? Are you building, designing, or learning something new? 

I hope this can be a space for you to reflect and write a record of how this age impacted you. Too often we remember only the bad. I hope that as time passes and life returns to normal, you can reflect on your experience and be reminded of the good. Perhaps instead of returning to normal, your life will enter a new normal where you incorporate some of the positive aspects of this age that you discovered.

 

If you would like to share your unique experience in this space, I encourage you to do so! While all experiences are important and valid, my focus is to record stories of the secondhand, positive impacts of this global pandemic. In the future I hope to compile some of your stories into a book so that we have a lasting record of how this pandemic influenced our lives on a daily, personal level. As such, I have listed four guiding themes: love, laughter, learning, and loss. The following are examples of stories that could fall into the four categories, but they are not meant to be restrictions or limitations. 

 

  • Examples of stories of love: meeting a new friend or partner, reconnecting with a friend or loved one, discovering a new activity you love, or how you helped a friend/family member/coworker as a secondhand result of COVID-19. 

  • Examples of stories of laughter: humorous outfits or activities you participated in or observed others participating in (i.e. my partner and I danced behind my house with tumbleweed twigs because why not?), odd lifestyle changes you made, toilet paper alternatives, etc. 

  • Examples of stories of learning: learning a new skill, learning how to adapt, learning how to perform your job remotely, or a realization you had as a secondhand result of COVID-19.

  • Examples of stories of loss: letting go of a bad habit or negative beliefs, ending a toxic relationship, throwing away items or quitting activities that don’t bring you joy, etc.

            

As I hope to create a novel that will incorporate some of your stories, I encourage you to end your story with a signature listing your name (or a pseudonym if you would like to remain anonymous), and the city, state, and country where you reside. This will allow me to credit you for your contribution. For each story, please keep the length to no more than 1000 words; however, if you would like to submit multiple stories, please feel free to do so! You may submit multiple stories to the same category, or you can submit to different categories. Upon submitting, please list the category you feel your story aligns with best. To submit your story, please paste it in the form at the bottom of this page. I will then post your story to this site.

 

Happy writing and thank you for sharing!

 

Madison Edwards

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