Every morning I look out my tall, white, window. The window, surrounded by plants, is sometimes hard to see through. My collection has grown quite a bit since last March. It’s amazing how much life can fit in such a small room. Almost 20 plants of all shapes and sizes, golden pothos, philodendron, english ivy, begonia, succulents, cacti, and even Chia Pets take up all the space surrounding my window.
When I look through all that life, I see a stark reminder of death. Piles of snow from the recent storms and an old, dirty, worn-out paper face mask lay on the black asphalt right outside my backyard. I can still see a muddy footprint from when the mailman walked over it. The mask sits in some melted snow below the sidewalk. Even though the sun was bright, the mask sat just outside of its reach. When I look at this mask, it reminds me of the world that I’ve been living in for the past year.
The world has been taken by storm all because of a small particle, about 80nm in size, which managed to spread throughout the world. Coronavirus has turned everyone’s lives upside down. Countless students are learning from computer screens, symptoms of depression have greatly increased, millions of people are losing their jobs, families are at risk of falling into poverty, people are being forced to dumpster dive for food, and over 2 million people lost their lives all because of this virus. Yet some people know what is going on, but still complain about their favorite amusement parks being closed. How can people knowingly neglect the fact that over 2 million people no longer breathe, and millions more are suffering in silence? You would think that after people realize this it would be impossible to look away, but it seems that deliberate ignorance is incredibly easy for some people.
It’s hard to understand how there are people in the world who just don’t care. People hear that there have been over 2 million deaths and they don’t even bat an eye. Some people believe if it doesn’t affect them then it doesn’t matter. How is it even possible that people like this walk the earth aware of what is happening, and still choose ignorance over action?
Something absolutely crazy to me is that this disease has turned into a political topic. Why have we turned people’s deaths into politics? Why is it so hard for some people to wear a mask and wash their hands? It should be worth it, to everyone, to keep people safe.
This pandemic has opened up so many people’s eyes, including my own. It allowed me time to self-reflect about the kind of person that I want to be. It made me realize just how many unjust things are happening in the world. It also brought me closer to my family.
I believe that a lot of people have grown so much this year. As strange as it may sound, our society has discovered a strong sense of community. Although we may not be able to physically stand with one another we have found ways to continue to help each other. Many people have taken to donating facemasks to hospitals, food to homeless shelters, and cleaning up the environment. For better or worse this has truly been a year to remember.
I find that this year we’ve realized that sometimes we spend too much time looking at ourselves, or wishing that our life was better. We should spend more time looking at the big picture, and seeing how other people live. We tend to have trouble putting ourselves in other people’s shoes. However, with as much free time as we’ve been granted this year, it’s the perfect time to do so. I’ve noticed that I’ve learned more this year than I think I have any other year. However, I think the most important thing I’ve learned is how to look outside my window instead of being stuck in the world behind it.