I write to you from room 301. I am sitting in the window of my small studio apartment, watching the world go by. A starch reality of a world which has seemingly lied dormant for months. 133 days ago, an outbreak of a virus was declared in China. Fast forward 71 days; that same virus was now a global pandemic, and the world as most people knew it, was thrust into hibernation. Fast forward another 62 days to the present – Tuesday, May 12, 2020. A day where finally, the city and country I am fortunate enough to live in, has appeared to open its eyes from slumber, and offered a lifeline of hope to its people.
Along with the tragedy of countless lives lost around the world, and the sickening volume of people who fell ill, the deep economic impact was felt globally. Many businesses were forced to close their doors, and historically high job-loss numbers were reached. My chosen career in disability was one of the lucky industries to be considered an essential service, which fortunately enough for me meant I was still able to work. However, this bittersweet blessing didn’t fail to come without its challenges.
I have been guilty of running and hiding from responsibility in the past. I spent many years at the mercy of my ego, dipping and diving from adversity whilst dragging my feet through a life of short-term pleasures at the expense of love and loyalty. I cultivated a negative mindset, adopted hurtful habits, played the victim, and subconsciously brought the people around me down who have so often lifted me up. When the virus emerged, the world began to change. And once again, I found myself wanting to run and hide. I felt irrepressible anxiety at the prospect of confronting an entirely new world. A world that was beginning to seem like a shell of its former self, the self that I felt I was just starting to find a place in.
As was the case for many, I was asked to adjust my role at my place of employment to assist the company through the phase of restrictions that came with the virus. Each of these adjustments came with their respective challenges. As it became evident that the virus was here to stay for the foreseeable future, and that the vast new reality I found myself in was to remain semi-permanent until further notice, the looming sense of the unknown began to resonate deep within me, and old feelings started to re-emerge. I had to decide, do I sink or swim? You see, my old decision-making process never really transpired very well for me. I decided not only did I need to swim as hard as I could, I wanted to. There were some difficult seconds, minutes, hours, days, and weeks. Times arose that had me second-guessing the present and overthinking the future. I wanted to run and hide.
Along the way however, I have found beauty in the struggle. I have learnt about myself, about others, and about the world. I have learnt that my reality, is completely different to somebody else. I have learnt that reality is difficult at times, and people from all walks of life with varying abilities have their own unique versions. I have learnt that embracing the challenge of life, hardens you to life’s challenges. I have learnt that adversity opens doors. I have learnt that purpose trumps profit, and it is indeed the journey that matters, not the destination. And I have learnt that the greatest illness in the world is indifference.
I assist a young man with his reading and writing on Wednesdays. He just wants the sick people to feel better and to celebrate his beloved Mother’s 50th Birthday. He taught me that I had tip toed through 1,2302 days of life. Thank you.
I visit a man in a mental health clinic on Mondays. Today, he felt the first ray of sunshine on his face in over four months. He taught me that patience is the key to calmness. Thank you.
I visit an elderly man twice per week. We play cards, drink coffee, and joke together in broken English. He forgets who I am most of the time, so he is always ecstatic when I arrive to visit and “Thanks his god!” for the time he spends with me. He taught me that if I follow my higher power of choice, I will see amazing things. I will see colors and lights that I had never seen before. Thank you.
I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by a team of loving and loyal individuals. Without your positive influence, leadership, and passion for making the world a better place, I would probably be sinking right now. Thank you.
I learnt from my grandfather before he passed that a man is a success who has laughed often and loved much. Who has looked for the best in others, and gave the best he had. 17 years later, this finally makes sense.
Yours in color and light, from Room 301.