Self Realizations

"All those things I 'never have time' to do? I was lying to myself. I lack the mental energy to do more than the bare minimum society requires of me."

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"Having the option to do something and not doing it sucks far less than not having that option at all."

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"How much you touch your face and how often you touch public surfaces."

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"Most people do not understand exponential growth."

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Humans Are Wasteful

"How much food I actually waste on a regular basis. I always thought we did pretty good about not buying too many groceries or making too much, ordering too much, etc. How wrong I was. I set a goal for our household that we would use up all of our leftovers before making new stuff. It's forced me to be creative and experiment in the kitchen. Really shows you how long your pantry/fridge can actually last you."

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Things Are Taken For Granted... Even Earth

"That I took so many things for granted like going to restaurants and just being able to go to a supermarket without worrying about what they may or may not have."

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"That the world we knew before this is gone. There is no 'returning to normal'. There will only be a new 'normal'. Our social interactions, retail/supply chain protocols to prevent panic buying, technological advancements to make remote working and learning easy and efficient, and even government mandates and surveillance, will all change because of this."

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"How quickly the environment has bounced back in the last 2/3 weeks. I think we should make a 1-week off holiday, everyone, a complete world shut down for 1 week each year."

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Relationships Are Important

"That I married the right person. We've been self-isolating for two weeks now and being with him makes the biggest difference to my overall happiness."

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"It's time to seize the day once this is over. I'm not going to hesitate to show the people that I love how I feel. Being able to talk to the people you love isn't the same as being there to hold their hand when they're alone, afraid, and in pain. And I miss having them there for me."

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"That I should marry my boyfriend. I have pretty high anxiety even at the best of times, and I’ve just been sitting here this week waiting to lose my job, feeling very far away from my aging parents. He’s been my lifeline the whole time and just having him here makes me feel at ease and able to let go of the things I can’t control. And we’ve been having a total blast locked up together. We’ve talked about wanting to spend our lives together before but this is a different level."

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"I'll probably never get to hug my grandpa again and he'll die thinking his family abandoned him. He's over 90 and in a nursing home, he can barely hear and is almost completely blind so it's very difficult for him to comprehend what's going on and why we can't go see him."

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Betting on sports was consuming more of my life than I realized. It was robbing me of quality time with my family after work. Even when I made efforts to not be checking my phone for score updates ever 5 minutes, I was never fully engaged with my wife and kids because of the pending bet or bets on the back of my mind, it owned me. Now that there are no sports to bet on, I’ve found myself really connecting with my wife and kids on a level I haven’t been able to do in months, and it’s amazing. In this regard, I’m thankful for the forced break in sports, and the time to reflect and see how all consuming it actually was. Not going back there.

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How Pandemics Change Work

"How many jobs/meetings really can be done remotely."

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"I didn’t realize how much my work defined who I am. I’m a barber and after a week and a half of not doing it, I feel very incomplete. As cheesy as it may sound, it’s my art form and it gives me a lot of meaning. I’m very hopeful, though, that I’ll make it through this and be able to do it again."

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"That I was working too hard. Because of all the suffering, I'm actually kind of ashamed to admit this has been great for my mental health."

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"That a company can run 5 months without a CEO, but it can't run a single day if workers do not show up all at once one day."

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Privilege Is Real

"Just how privileged I am. Don't get me wrong--I have plenty that keeps me up at night. But compared to the trouble a lot of people are in, my worries are nothing.

This country is full of people having to choose between risking their family's health vs. risking eviction. Folks with parents in nursing homes who they can't visit. People with chronic health conditions who are terrified of a flare-up while the hospitals are full. Hospital workers who are living in their garages because there are PPE shortages at work and they're afraid of infecting their families...

I can't imagine how much stress a lot of my neighbors are under right now."

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We're All Connected

"How much we take for granted that everything just works. That things like a global supply chain just...work. That an average Joe like me can, in the dead of winter, reliably expect to see oranges in the produce aisle.

How much we now rely on others as a society. Globally. We rely on manufacturing from around the world. Food grown around the world. They rely on our purchasing things.

How incredibly connected we can be, with modern ships and airplanes and the internet.

And how we didn’t realize how fragile that was, or how intricately everything connected.

When this all started I didn’t care about toilet paper, or food for myself. I only cared about one thing: was I going to be able to feed my cats? They are broken and spoiled. They have special dietary needs. Would I be able to get a reliable source of d/d venison and green pea? Or hydrolyzed proteins. Or chicken I can boil for my dude who has a sensitive tummy, AND no teeth. Would the pet stores have enough stock of wet food that he could tolerate. And it humbled and awed me to see an orderly line in front of the vet’s office of people maintaining social distance.

Isn’t it funny, we shout/said to each other, what we take for granted? I never thought, one guy hollered, that I would ever be worried about finding food for my dog."

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Perhaps There Is A Bright Side

"When all of this is over, whenever that may be, I think I'll have a newfound appreciation for the seemingly mundane, little things in everyday life, and in general be incredibly grateful for this life (assuming that I don't die by then of course). Be it going out to the local department store to buy groceries, or taking the public transport to and from work, or sitting and sharing lunch with colleagues in the office cafeteria – all of these will be seen in a new light. And so will be all those people who keep all these things up and running.

I remember the last day I went to my workplace before my city (and country) eventually went into lockdown. By then almost the entire office was already working from home. I had dropped by for a bit to pick something up for work, and seeing all the empty desks of my colleagues made me tear up. It's an emotion I can't quite place a finger on. To say that I was missing them wouldn't be completely true because, thanks to technology, we were in touch every day through IMs and video calls. I guess the best way to describe it would be to say that it was something akin to nostalgia – the realization that what was once 'normal' has become disrupted and there's no saying when we'd get it back, and that disruption is accompanied by a constant anxiety, a fear of the unknown and what lies ahead.

Granted, our pre-Corona lives weren't all roses and unicorns. There were battles to fight then too. The same bay where I stood and got teary eyed by looking at the empty desks was also where me and my team had to deal with a lot of stuff and stress. It's the place we complained about coming to every morning when we'd rather be snuggling in bed (especially on Mondays). Some of these issues were trivial, some weren't.

But all of that doesn't compare to the constant fear that we live with in the back of our minds now. Fear of stepping out and getting infected. Fear of losing a loved one to the disease. Fear of what could possibly come after this – of the enormous impact on the economy and its consequences. Fear of that little, panicky voice in your head which sometimes asks, 'What if this present reality is the new norm and we forever lose that which we once considered 'normal'?' which we then immediately try to stifle by telling ourselves that nope, one day we'll certainly go back to what we had before this started.

Maybe this whole ordeal is going to turn out to be a hands-on course in existentialism."

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