It goes without saying that the Covid-19 epidemic has impacted me in ways I never thought would happen and I genuinely forgot the routine I used to have before the pandemic. It’s almost like life doesn’t really feel real back then. For the masses of people, almost overnight our freedom and the life we knew changed forever- for better or worse. However, I believe in God and God’s timing and believe that this horrible pandemic was Godsent. You could have been fired from the job you hated anyways, you could have broke up with your girlfriend that wasn’t even good for you- what I am trying to say is that the pandemic, whether you like it or not, gave you some harsh clarity on what you really want out of life. It taught me to value my friends and family more, it taught me to be more faithful, and it taught me to appreciate the little things in life.
I remember the exact day the reality of the pandemic hit me. On a random Tuesday in March 2020 everyone got an email saying that we would have remote learning for the next couple of weeks. People were visibly upset, not realizing how much worse everything would become. Eventually, we were confronted with the realities of life under the pandemic. Our public institutions were crumbling before our eyes. We saw tone-deaf celebrities in their mansions complaining while half of the damn country was starving. The class divide became more evident. I saw this myself. I overheard conversations of my neighbors complaining about the increase of homeless people. Increased racist comments were being directed towards my Asian American friends. People were hurting, people were starving, and people were at their breaking point. The country’s health was deteriorating overnight.
However, as I was trapped against my will I tried to do everything possible in order to keep my mental sane. I came across this article early on that discussed Islams response on how to respond to deadly pandemics. Unbeknownst to me, the prophet once said “When you hear that [a plague] is in a land, do not go to it and if it occurs in a land that you are already in, then do not leave it, fleeing from it” (trt world). I then began to go down a rabbit hole of researching medicine that was not western centric and more tribal and oriental. All of this was fascinating to me and this comes from someone who has never really cared about any of this stuff prior. Subahanallah, it is crazy what a pandemic will do to you.
The worst part of this pandemic for me was missing out on all of the festivities of Ramadan. That sucked and there was absolutely no silver lining to that. Ramadan, albeit a very hard holiday, is one of the most rewarding spiritual experiences ever. The atmosphere and energy of pulling up to the mosque with my boys every night, reading Quran for hours, and then eating our suhoor at IHop around 4 AM is undefeated. I can be out till 6 am and my parents won’t mind. I love it. But all that was taken away from me.
My friends tried to host zoom Quran nights but it just did not hit the same. I wanted to be around people, cracking jokes, roasting people as I usually do. It made me depressed. I remember thinking “ why the fuck do I have to experience this during my lifetime”, let alone my college years. Especially, in a country as incompetent as this one. I was livid. But it was beyond my control and there is nothing I could do about it.
I started reaching out to people more. I started apologizing for words I have said unknowingly that caused pain to some of my closest friends. I started to read a lot more. I started working on myself. I watched a lot of documentaries. I started waking up early and mediating. I started taking more care of my fragile mental health. One day, I came across a YouTube video by a lovely man named Miles Carter. He said some of the most profound shit I have ever heard,
“It’s rare that people will admit to hurting you. Instead, They will frame you as being wrong, convincing themselves that you are toxic in order to alleviate their own guilt. And if you have been kind them, having little to pull from, they will have no option but to turn your better qualities against you. Your passion will be newly regarded as overwhelming. Your concern will be possessiveness. Your kindness will be naivety and your love will be “too much”” (Miles Carter).
This one short YouTube video really truly shaped my perception of love and he articulated what I was feeling more than I ever could. I carry those sentiments with me today. It helped me explain some of my past relationships, etc.
She’ll come when it’s time. I will get the job I want. Everything will go back to normal. And if it doesn’t, regardless I’ll be ok. There’s so much more to live for. There is so much more to life than the momentary obstacles. We are a miserable generation and it really isn’t our fault. We have been dealt with circumstances that I feel like would have made anyone miserable.
We all need to be nicer to ourselves. Do not listen to any life coach or douchebag entrepreneur telling you you are lazy for not working yourself into oblivion in order to reach any semblance of comfort. You are doing just fine. I promise you’re doing great considering the obstacles you have overcome thus far.
“Indeed, with all hardship comes ease”. (Quran 94:5):