This pandemic taught me the most valuable lesson ever.
I wasn’t prepared for the challenges bestowed upon me when I left Bangalore where I’d been working and returned to my hometown. There, I had gained financial independence and the freedom to do what I liked. In my native place, I had to adjust to a not-so-liberal routine.
Coming from a traditional family, I could no longer head to my favourite food spot in pyjamas; I was expected to spend hours dressing up—just in case I bump into some nosy relative and end up becoming the talk of our kitty parties.
Whenever I talked to my friends on the phone, I had my mother or brother watching me vigilantly. There were days when I just day-dreamt of travelling or spent hours watching documentaries on Bali and Switzerland.
Thanks to frequent lockdowns, panic, and anxiety among my circle, I had to sit around and wait for a time when I can pursue my solo travelling dreams. It hasn’t been an easy feat. I was suddenly cut away from my friends and most essentially my freedom. I didn’t know how to fight back this overwhelming feeling of losing what I had dreamt of all my life, and I was paranoid about what the future holds for me.
There were months when I sat inside my home focusing on my office work. Many days went by when I was completely flustered by the monotonous routine. Watching news or updates on Facebook or Instagram didn’t help either. It was like adding fuel to my anxiety.
Lack of physical contact with people also caused me tremendous stress. I experienced it often, day and night.
How did I overcome the loneliness?
1. Amidst this chaos, I made up my mind not to give up on one thing—hope!
>> I was hopeful that things will go back to normal.
>> I was hopeful that everything will be alright.
>> I was hopeful for a bright future.
>> I was hopeful for a beaming reality.
>> I was hopeful for a lovely new beginning.
2. I concentrated on my career and learnt new skills, like creating illustrations, web development, WordPress, and personal branding. I also learnt to cook North Indian dishes as well as an elaborate South Indian meal.
3. I remained content with what I had, rather than craving for what I didn’t have. I prepared a gratitude diary and thanked the almighty for the food, clothes, shelter, and job in hand. It’s still a luxury for many people.
4. I decided to do everything in my power to help those around me: I became an online volunteer helping COVID-19 patients and created a WhatsApp group to provide reliable and verified information for my loved ones.
5. I video called my friends whenever I wished. Distance makes your heart grow fonder, and I am looking forward to a reunion.
I’m no longer lonely. I have the most lovable person with me—myself.
“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so wants nothing. The greatest blessings of mankind are within us and within our reach. A wise man is content with his lot, whatever it may be, without wishing for what he has not.” ~ Seneca
You are your own best friend.