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Self-Searching in the Midst of a Pandemic: A Blessing in Disguise?

Updated: Sep 4, 2020

Photo by Katia Romanovaon on Flickr

Despite the catastrophic effects of the Pandemic, it may actually benefit us in a way we fail to realize.

In late December 2019, when the new novel coronavirus (Covid-19) made its first appearance in the city of Wuhan, China, the world experienced a major turn of events leading up to the declaration of a pandemic, and the shutting down of cities across the globe. Governments around the world declared nationwide lockdowns or stay-home orders, where citizens were required to stay in their homes, and were only allowed to leave for essential purposes. Malaysia was one of them.

Most of us have this shared understanding that the pandemic has become one of the worst events of the century. However, some argue that every cloud has its silver lining. As catastrophic as the pandemic was, it is an undeniable fact that some good did come out of it. Many people started finding themselves and their life’s path (a.k.a. "self-searching"). This gave them a chance to develop new skills and habits, or make life-changing decisions during the quarantine period.

Ever since the start of the Movement Control Order (MCO), I’ve developed a total of 2 useful life skills, and discovered a lot about myself.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic reached Malaysian shores, I was in a comfortable state. Of course, I completed my day-to-day duties of being a student, but I wasn’t really growing. I was afraid of taking risks and learning new things. I was in a stagnant state.

But then the coronavirus started taking its toll, and before I knew it, I was suddenly forced into a foreign situation. The stability I once felt became a fast-moving wave of change. I felt lost and afraid.

Strangely, as harsh as it was, the pandemic had encouraged my own personal growth as I started learning new life skills like cooking and baking. I also started doing things which I usually wouldn’t do, like taking time to prepare ingredients for a meal instead of opting for a bowl of instant noodles and finding solace in the mundane act of doing dishes.

That made me realize something. I wasn’t as quick-moving as I had thought, in fact, I learned that I actually disliked change. I’d preferred a more orderly and organized lifestyle. I also realized that I was a person who focused more on the present and completing tasks in the moment instead of the ‘happy dreamer’ who I thought I was. In fact, I feel like I became a different person, coming out of the quarantine period.

And it took a Pandemic for me to learn that about myself.

Am I the only one experiencing these feelings?

At first, when I initially realized that I was experiencing a change within myself and my behaviours, I felt a wave of emotion and loss, as I was worried about losing my sense of self. Then, I decided to consult my friends and ask them for advice. They told me that I wasn’t alone and that how I was feeling was completely normal and valid, especially with the current Pandemic situation.

Thinking back, the quarantine period gave most of us more time to contemplate on ourselves and grow internally more than we would have ever expected. With so much free time on our hands, what a person does to fill that free time says a lot about their character, personality, as well as what their priorities are. Some chose to be more productive and keep themselves busy, while some choose to indulge themselves in matters which they’re usually too busy to indulge themselves in.

Therefore, all this free time really makes you realize a lot about yourself as an individual. For some, they learn about how they are really like when they’re alone and by themselves, in an idle state without having to present a “better” side of themselves when at work or with friends.

Which then begs the question:

Who Are We? If not for the people around us?

Photo by Miroslav Vajdić on Flickr

How are Youths adapting to the Situation at hand?

Students and young adults started learning about themselves, their friendships, and their relationships, as youths’ social lives made that transition into a digital form. Many had also slowly found themselves drifting apart from each other, as the lack of face-to-face communication had gradually prevented the connection between them to be maintained.

On the other hand, some youths started coming up with great ideas to stay connected, even when apart. Food-delivery and courier mobile applications were greatly utilized during the movement control order, as friends and couples started sending each other free meals and gifts which they purchased online. In addition, many online meetings, parties, and even concerts were held through video calling applications in an attempt to maintain that sense of normalcy in this situation.

In addition, young couples who made the decision to cohabitate during the stay-home order learned to live with their partners full-time. Some people discovered aspects of their partner that previously may have been kept hidden and some started realizing the flaws present in their relationship. As a result, many couples were put into a situation where they had to learn to accept their partner’s flaws and maintain a healthy relationship despite the tension present after being with each other 24/7.

Unfortunately, some couples ultimately realized that their relationship was not meant to be and ended their relationships; going their separate ways after the stay home order was lifted.

So, what can we take away from this?

It is an undeniable fact that the Pandemic has wreaked havoc, from the widespread loss of lives around the world, to businesses closing their doors, leaving many of their past-employees jobless and in need of a new source of income. In fact, it is widely said that this Pandemic will change our lives forever. However, it is important to realize that for many of us, the pandemic has allowed us to discover more about ourselves and our motivations, due to us being put in that situation.

Ultimately, as the pandemic has a significant mental and emotional strain on all of us, self-care is of utmost importance. Take this time to look within yourselves, and realize your intentions. As scary as the situation out there is, it is important for us to always have hope and find the positive aspects, even when placed into the worst situations. And always remember to:

Stay Safe and Stay Hopeful.

Because together, we can get through this.

By: Ivory Anne


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