Before it’s too late

Why does it always take losing something for us to really appreciate it?

All+citizens+are+advised+to+stay+indoors%2C+with+strict+curfews+being+enforced.+

The Edge

All citizens are advised to stay indoors, with strict curfews being enforced.

As the COVD-19 pandemic sweeps across the nation, I think a lot of us are wondering how we didn’t understand how good we had it. My soccer season is gone, I can only talk to my friends through the internet, and it’s not looking so good for the end of my junior year.  Because of this, I’ve spent most of my quarantine grieving the year I’m losing and complaining to my family about online learning or how I miss soccer, swearing I’ll never take what I had for granted again. And then I realized that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. Taking what I have right now for granted. Taking the choice of quarantine for granted. 

As I complain about being “stuck” at home, 567,715 Americans are on the streets during this pandemic, with no home to return to. When I wash my hands for the 20th time in a day, I don’t consider that 11 percent of the world’s population doesn’t have access to a clean water supply. As I groan because my teacher posted an assignment in the middle of the week, the 130 million girls who don’t have access to education don’t cross my mind. 

Of course, I don’t think about these things. My school year’s over. Of course, I don’t think about how blessed I am in a time when things I had were taken. But maybe, losing something should make us more aware of what we still have, not just what we lost. Maybe I can use this as a chance to be grateful for the safety I find in quarantine, a safety many couldn’t imagine. 

And I don’t mean that this pandemic is a blessing in disguise. It’s not. It’s terrible, and just because people have it much worse than me doesn’t mean my problems don’t count. But I’ve gained a perspective. Even after losing things that meant a lot to me, I still have so much. I have a home where I’m safe with a family that loves and supports me. I have friends who check on me. I know when my next meal will be. Things that I’ve been taking for granted, just like my life before the pandemic.

As I sit at home wishing I was at a normal school day, I will let myself be sad about the experiences I’ve lost. But when I think about opening my mouth to complain, I instead try to look to the positive. The things I haven’t lost. The things I’m lucky to have in the first place. 

When things get back to normal I will be insanely grateful. But rather than spending the meantime being ungrateful, I’m challenging myself to notice the small things. The constant things. I’m making a conscious effort to find the good. Find what I’m taking for granted now, and how I can stop before I lose it.