Dear future self,
I am writing during stressful and unprecedented times. It is late April 2020 and COVID-19 has shaken up the world. I am writing this letter in the hopes you, my future self, will read me from time to time as a way to reflect, support, and hopefully give you comfort in other stressful times we may face.
Early march we were on spring break with a group of our closest friends. We were blissfully unaware of the emotional shock we would soon be faced with. We had just traveled down to Florida. We were having a great time on the beach with our friends. It was March 15th and things took a huge turn of events. We woke up early, as we often do, and saw a message saying that we are no longer allowed to live in our house in Chapel Hill for the rest of the semester. Anxiety rushes over us. At this point our parents had just moved from Hickory, North Carolina to Marquette, Michigan. At this moment we felt so alone, so far from our family. We felt scared and anxious.. What were we going to do? Mom and Dad were so worried about us they felt so far away and were trying to do everything to help. Mom tried to fly up to help us make the drive back but we did not want her to fly with the risk of getting COVID-19. We made it back to Chapel Hill the next day packed up all the belongings we could fit into our car and the next day got up and started the over 1,000 mile drive. We were nervous, the most we ever drove was 4 hours before this and we had a passenger. Two days later we made it to our new home. It was the best feeling ever to be in the comfort of our family.
Late March & Early April
We found a lot of peace being with our family during this difficult time. We also thought and prayed a lot for the people who were alone or were at home in not safe conditions. Things were getting scary; it was all that was on the news. Everything was getting canceled. In Michigan we had strict Stay At Home Orders; you could not go on the lake or play in your front yard or buy anything non-essential. Life as we knew it stopped and became this black hole of fear and anxiety for what was to come. There was fear all around: fear for safety, fear for mental health, fear about money as many lost their jobs. The emotions experienced right now are so extreme and complex they can not be put into words. Dad’s job was getting really stressful.. And we could see it on his face. He would come home and cry about the hospital staff being so scared and stressed and about lives lost. We pray everyday this ends for Dad and for everyone. We struggle with the balance of feeling our own sadness and worries while also understanding our privilege and feeling for everyone affected by this pandemic in so many different ways. Another emotion that is trickling over us right now is anger. We are seeing snapchat stories of people hanging out and partying and it makes you angry. It is a level of ignorance and disrespect you can not understand. You try to politely reach out and try to explain how serious this is and how important it is to be social distancing and following all the stay at home orders. People are not listening. We have to come to the conclusion that there will always be those people and you can try to get them to understand but they have to come to that decision on their own. It’s hard. We and so many others are staying inside and listening but they are still putting people I care about in danger. It is hard mentally.
Things I want us to Remember:
I want us to remember this pandemic. I think it is important to remember the details of these things because we need to learn and grow from our experiences. There are a lot of things I have learned through this time that I want us to remember and to carry with us. Here is a list of those things:
- ● The sun still sets and rises everyday: watch it!! It is beautiful, peaceful, and offers hope of a new day and reminds us that every day has an end to it. Tomorrow is a new day.
- ● Do not get too busy to watch the stars!! We love the stars, it balances us. It also reminds us of great memories. Take time to sit there and appreciate it!! (Even in a pandemic there are beautiful things to appreciate)
- ● Guided meditation is so important!! We have used this a lot during this pandemic; I hope we continue too
- ● Go for walks!! Enjoy the outdoors!! Currently we go for daily walks with mom and the dogs. We have been going down to the shores of Lake Superior. It is truly breathtaking.
- ● Spend time with your family!! Family has been so important during the pandemic. We are currently living at home with Mom and Dad and even though it is hard at moments, we are truly so thankful for this extra time we are getting to spend with them!! Also we have been zooming with other family like Alex (sister) and grandma!
- ● Your feelings are valid and will always be valid BUT remember so are the others around you!! It is easy to focus on how just you are feeling but make an effort to think about those around you and do what you can to support them!!
- ● Stop touching your face too much!! This is a bad habit I have discovered we have during this pandemic. Just stop! Germs spread a lot that way.
- ● Love yourself!! Love those around you! Choose to be happy!! Do what your body needs it to do right now; it is quite literally supporting you through a pandemic which is incredible; love it for that!! Love your family and friends; they need support and love too! Reach out and check on them!! The last thing I have found to help my mental health during this time is to do what makes me happy. That can look different everyday, it could be painting, reading, walking, cooking etc. Just choose happiness!!