In the weeks to follow, offices shifted to remote working, many businesses had to close temporarily or have had altered working hours while following strict safety measures, major sanitisation drives were carried out, there were restrictions on movement, and we were introduced to the term “social distancing”.
Now that I look back at the time gone by and ask myself how I feel about the turn of events, I can say without a doubt that I feel positive and optimistic. Why, some people might ask? We know that this is one of the biggest challenges the nations of the world are facing collectively. We are witnessing an unprecedented (I can guarantee that the word “unprecedented” has never been used so much as it has in the last few months!) situation, battling a mysterious, elusive adversary and it may be months before circumstances return back to normal. And yet, I choose to be positive.
There! I said it. I “CHOOSE” to be positive.
Our lives have spun 180 degrees in a matter of days. There’s not a single individual, industry or nation which has not been impacted. Our schedules have changed and there has been a paradigm shift in how we do things: the way we shop, socialise, work, learn, connect and so much more. There is a feeling of uncertainty and fear in doing things we took for granted just a few short months ago.
Still, I choose to feel positive.
I prefer to train and tell my conscious mind to look at the brighter picture and never lose sight of the silver linings. I’m enjoying the freedom that remote learning allows me. I can learn at my own pace and really consolidate my learning in the most individualistic manner.
I absolutely treasure the time I am getting to spend with my family... simple things like baking, playing board games, playing my violin while we lounge around after lunch, sitting in my sun-soaked corner sofa and reading books I’ve read many times before. All moments which I’m sure will become fond memories and make me smile when all this is over. I read news reports about the Earth healing, the ozone layer replenishing itself and I can’t even begin to describe how my heart leaps with joy when I see pictures of animals roaming free while humans quarantine themselves! Be it ducks waddling across the Jumeirah road junction or fish swimming in the clear waters of the Venetian canals, it is all wonderful to behold.
Most importantly, this pandemic has redefined my definition of heroes. No longer do I think that heroes wear capes or yield supernatural powers. I now understand the true meaning of heroism and salute the extraordinary individuals who have firmly placed themselves as a firewall between the looming threat and the population. Doctors, nurses, policemen, sanitation workers, delivery boys, checkout counter staff and so many more- they are my heroes now and I feel grateful and honoured that I share planet space with such brave and selfless human beings. I marvel at their courage to stand at the frontline unflinchingly and salute them for exemplifying what is best of humanity.
What I have learnt from this pandemic is that we should always look at a situation and try to figure out what aspect of it is under our control and what is not. In the current situation, what is under our control as individuals is to follow rules and trust the law makers and authorities to ensure our safety and well-being. Additionally, what is really in our hands is to think positive and invest our seconds, minutes, hours and days in the most productive manner.
No doubt the pandemic has created a disruption and we are all waiting to go back to normal. But do we really want all of it back? That’s a question a lot of people are asking as the world learns new ways to do things. A lot of companies are declaring that they will allow their workers to work from home permanently. It makes sense. If the same work expectations can be met while saving office rent, and if productivity can be maintained, while cutting back the fiscal and environmental impact of the office-home commute, then it seems a logical revolution.
This is just one example and by the time the pandemic is behind us, our world will have rebooted - and, I firmly believe, for the better. We might not go back to all the old ways and habits but that is okay. We’ll learn how to do things in a new way. We will evolve. I have faith in human resilience, grit and the ingenuity to overcome the darkest of times and come out stronger than before.
There’s a lot of speculation what the new normal will be in the days to come. I say, how about we just let “positivity” be the new normal and take it one day at a time.
We shall overcome this just as generations before us overcome their challenges.
Until then (and beyond then) let us choose positivity- every single day!
This article was written by Mishal Faraz, a student at The Winchester School, Jebel Ali