These are oddly confusing, emotionally taxing, and uncertain times for all of us across the globe. For me, personally, this pandemic paranoia comes at a time when I’m coming to terms with how I deal with uncertainty and self-worth in general. It comes at a time when I’m finally learning to let go of this insatiable need in me to always have control over everything; over what is and what is to come.
Amidst my own mental battles, the Coronavirus chaos has put a lot of things into perspective. The importance of gratitude. The value of things I’ve overlooked – the ease with which I could go to the grocery, how going to the gym didn’t feel like a life-and-death situation, not having to constantly worry about invisible, life-threatening creatures every time I even think of stepping out of the house. The reality of how blessed so many of us are to afford the luxury of working from home or being with loved ones during this crisis. The irony of how I’m finally starting my blog when the entire world has come to a stop.
Yesterday, a little after the 21 day lock-down announcement in India (and 362728295 memes later), I was suddenly reminded of something my eighth grade English teacher, Mrs. Indrani Guha, told us once. It was after an arts exam (yup, an ART exam), and we had to wait for an entire hour after we were done. Even though our artsy-craftsy “test” was done, we still had to wait for the official exam timings to be done with. Some of us cribbed. Others were getting visibly restless. Most of us were just annoyed. We just wanted to get out! In her own nonchalant way, Indrani ma’am told us “Stay still for a bit. Do nothing. There will come a time in your life when you’ll crave for some time to do nothing. So enjoy this, right here!”. As a 13 year-old, at the time, her words may not have hit home entirely but they’ve certainly stayed with me all these years.
Maybe it was for a time like this. When, despite factors like working from home & responsibilities at home, keep us busy through the day, we’re all comparatively “free”. We all suddenly have an abundance of time on our hands, and not much to do. For perhaps the first time in our lives, our phones have started to bore us to death and an overdose of Netflix feels almost nauseating. Maybe it’s finally time for us to be still. To reflect, ponder, introspect, wonder, and just…be still.
Yes, the stability of our finances, the safety of friends & family, and not getting to go to hang out at the mall or the beach (rolls eyes at the last point) are all valid reasons to fret & frown about. But at a time when the very essence of life itself is being cast forth into the limelight; at a time when the entire world has come to a standstill, maybe it’s time for us to stay still too. Emotionally. Mentally. Spiritually. Perhaps even physically.
It’s time to look within, remember who we are, why we’re here, and reclaim the dreams and aspirations that got lost somewhere along the way in this crazy rat race that is life. It is time to realize that the fact that we’re here, right here and now, alive and breathing, is enough. Who you are isn’t out there somewhere; it is within you right now (Chris Evans said that, not me!). Your self-worth lies solely in the fact that you are here, you are alive, and God wanted you to be here among these billions of people. Realizing that requires stillness. Stillness requires some time. We’ve got plenty of the latter right now.
Be still. Be safe.