We don’t remember the bad times by what they did to us, but by how they changed us.
We are officially in June 2021 and I am still here contemplating how 2020 was for me because of the changes that it has brought in me. I am sure we all have stories of how 2020 brought changes in us, either good or bad. There are changes we want to keep, build on because they have improved us as a person or brought us a step closer to that ideal self-image we have.
Then there are changes that we want to strip out of our reflexes or whatever part of the memory they are stored in because they promise harm and misery. The year 2020 may have given a whole new outlook or improvement, but I think it is a common consensus that it took a lot more from all of us and left us with something or the other to deal with.
What I have to say about my experience is no flowery tale of how I grew in my productivity or a narration of my fight against the consequences of the pandemic. It is about some small transformations that have taken on impacting my life profoundly.
One fine evening, I found myself watching a ted talk on how to make conversations, “7 ways to make conversation with anyone”, the title precisely. I realised that I have lost whatever communication skills I had built over my school years. A month of offline college during the time between two waves of the pandemic was enough for me to notice my desperate condition.
I was never an extrovert, but I had definitely improved my public speaking and the ability to make random conversations in classes 11 and 12. The lockdown took that progress to the negatives. I was never much of a talker, but I could make friends and hold interesting conversations.
The lockdown first made me lazy, then stripped me of my need to socialise, which eventually resulted in me struggling to make even basic conversations when I faced the offline world once again. I struggled in college to say a simple hello. Making new friends seemed like a task which I was failing at miserably.
The realisation struck painfully when a classmate introduced me as “kafi introvert” to a senior. I don’t have a problem with the introvert personality type, but I aspire to become a girl known for her confidence, who can charm people with witty conversations, and strive to become that.
Unfortunately, my 2-year effort went in vain. I now feel that making random conversations without feeling that you are being judged on every syllable that comes out of your mouth or going blank or constantly think of interesting topics to continue the conversation is an “art”. An art that will take me excruciating efforts and a long time to develop.
I think most of us will relate to this. The year 2020 had been so catastrophic that these small changes that occurred in our life went unnoticed. But you know what? These changes may be small, but they continue to have a damaging effect and will for a long time. Laziness is one of them.
Here I do understand my privilege of being in a state to notice a small change in life as becoming lazier. The lockdown and the shifting of education online have made me lazy in a very problematic way. It has snatched away my stamina or enduring capacity. I cannot pay attention in class for a long time, not to mention the constant urge to lie down. An hour of online work feels too much to bear; 10 minutes of physical activity feels like rock climbing.
I noticed the problematic nature of this small change again when I was once again out in the physical world. The endurance for a whole day of working mentally and physically built over school years is crushed. I get overwhelmed so easily now. I am a girl who has lots of hobbies, ideas, aims but needs a lot of pushing to actually convert the thoughts into actions, which is why this small change of becoming lazier impacts my life so severely.
As I said before, 2020 was different for everyone and some managed to increase their productivity; I am not one of them. You know, social media isn’t exactly a helpful pace when you are already guilty of not doing enough. Whenever I use social media, I notice that so many people have worked on their skills and achieved so many goals, made use of their lockdown time so efficiently, the grip of these feelings gets stronger and stronger.
I am not jealous; I just get stuck in a downward spiral of self-doubt. These feelings have taken such strong roots in my mind that now I feel like I shouldn’t waste a single minute of my life. My thoughts are preoccupied with increasing productivity, learning new skills and starting earning at an early age.
These thoughts aren’t bad but only till the time they are in limits. Mine have driven me to a point where my mood depends on how productive my day was. I find myself busy all the time, unavailable for my loved ones even if I am not doing anything because my thoughts are preoccupied and the idea of spending time on something other than achieving my goals makes me feel guilty.
It’s not exactly a feeling I can describe easily. The gist of what I am trying to say is that, as I said earlier, I have become lazier. The laziness combined with this crazy guilt of not doing enough is making my life quite a battle.
But there were some good changes too.
A very rich man once said, “I will always choose a lazy person to do a difficult job because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” And I think I now understand the brilliance of this statement. My laziness has led me to figure out creative and easy ways to do things.
The online shifting of education has also played a side character here. The online assignments, especially the ones designed by my university, have really honed my creativity (no matter how much I whine about them). I was always more of an artistic person, but my ideas were always more on the “hard work” side than “smart work”.
So my laziness and the constant demand for fresh and creative ideas by my uni assignments have helped me in switching sides.
Well, no philosophy intended, but the year 2020 really did bring this small but amazing change in me. It’s wonderful because it’s not like my mother telling me to be grateful for things I have as that will enhance my spirituality. It’s more of a realisation, a realisation that I am blessed to be alive, healthy and without any worries of how I will arrange for the necessities of life.
These bigger realisations have found their way in my thinking pattern and accommodated themselves in small bits. I now get sudden, random thoughts like, “Wow, I am blessed to be able to ask my mother for anything I want while ordering online,” or something similar.
The point is I started appreciating the smallest blessings of life, which have definitely impacted my life beautifully.