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The reality distortion minefield of the COVID-19 pandemic

The reality distortion minefield of the COVID-19 pandemic

The reality distortion minefield of the COVID-19 pandemic
January 28
11:48 2021

It has been 10 months since the COVID-19 pandemic has taken over the status quo. Any semblance of life before that first nationwide lockdown is long gone.

By no means am I trying to downplay the anguish we have felt throughout the last calendar year. However, adversity and pain are the prime moments for us to grow and develop. We cannot have hope without despair, nor can we know peace without disorder. You can’t have one without the other. That’s the transactional nature of life itself.

The term “reality distortion field” was a term used to describe the late Apple CEO Steve Jobs’ charisma and persistence to bend reality as he saw fit. When making the original Macintosh, he pushed software developers and even hardware manufacturers to make the product he envisioned. Told countless times that his requests were overambitious or impractical, Jobs, through bravado and razor-sharp intensity, made his compatriots do the impossible. As a result, computers, once thought to be an intimidating and technological niche, became an appealing bicycle for the mind that anyone could use.

In a somewhat similar way, we find ourselves in a collective rut. All of us have felt the brunt of these last ten months. It can either be losing a job, a close friend, a loved one or experiencing a completely different living situation. We have all been inconvenienced and involuntarily whipped to shape to meet the needs of this new norm. It is dire or void of hope, and you would not be wrong to think so.

A year of isolation can be home to people acting and even doubling down on their worst impulses. Checking social media has always been a dicey endeavor long before the pandemic. It became the closest link to the outside world many had, and even that can run its course before long.

Spending months at home will inevitably bring loneliness and even bitterness. It should also bring one to confront themselves and have an honest look in the mirror. It is not fun, nor does it feel encouraging in the moment. But being truthful with ourselves, to tell ourselves a brutal truth that we quietly knew, is a step closer to self-improvement and self-love. Like exercise, self-betterment is impossible without pain and awareness of how we are slipping up. Taking a jog, doing home workouts and especially practicing meditation are incredible and proven ways to know peace and comfort in a time that has been infamous for anything but.

The journey is the award. Last fall, most students had classes or did their coursework from the comfort of their own home. Although the idea of no longer commuting to campus is appealing to some, others miss the physical separation of their academic lives from their every day, at-home routines. Having your home be the central hub to your school, work and domestic lives is a nauseating prospect, a reality most students had to endure last semester.

And we somehow managed to see it through. I don’t think anyone is going to look at the insanity of the fall as the “good times,” nor am I wanting to romanticize that time. Still, through the late nights, tight deadlines and unanswered emails to your professor, we dug deep and did the best we could. It doesn’t feel good, but our future selves are likely to be better equipped and disciplined to handle whatever comes our way.

The essence of self-improvement is to suffer today to flourish tomorrow. We have all gone through things this year that we wish we hadn’t. We have lost freedoms and loved ones to a virus that wasn’t on our radars a year ago. Our home, academic and work lives are a far cry from what they were ten months ago. That being said, there is a virtue to turmoil. 2020 was a year of many things, almost all of them bad. Nevertheless, it was also a year that brought a healthy dose of awareness, humility and clarity. It’s been a painful year, but we’re still here. That has got to count for something.

Featured Illustration by Miranda Thomas

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Kevin Diaz

Kevin Diaz

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