The recent global situation has had an impact on many aspects of my life, but there has been one major shift that I have experienced. This forced pivot of our society has left me staring in the face of gratitude and reflection. When hearing about past crises, I was too young to understand the magnitude of what was happening. Now that I am tangibly faced with the effects of the Coronavirus, I have acknowledged my prior oblivion and unintended ignorance towards disease outbreaks and other devastating events, and am better for it.
Similarly, my overlooked luxuries in life are now glaringly obvious, such as being able to hug my grandfather as opposed to singing an off-key rendition of “Happy birthday” over a crackling phone call. My family is undeniably lucky to have the resources and stability to continue through this comfortably, while still keeping ourselves safe. In the past few years, I have become more aware of this safety net that hangs below me, and as it is now coming into use, I am more aware of those who do not have that luxury. This understanding has made me an extremely grateful human being. During this time spent away from the interactions I have taken for granted, my eyes have been opened to how desperately our global community needed something to band together against. I am inspired daily by doctors, nurses, hospital janitors, postal workers, and countless others who are putting themselves in harm’s way to protect the greater good.
In conclusion, while terrible, this situation has made me realize what I genuinely cherish–the safety of family and friends, doing what I love to do, kindness, acting on my opinion, good music, etc. The First World needed this reminder, as I did personally, to be humbled and to be grateful for what we have. The way that we have reacted as a whole shows that humanity still is good at its core. When this is all over, we will emerge with new hope to build a better world
Issy Swain is a student at The Pennfield School in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. She is a 2019 Write Rhode Island winner.