Journal: First-World Problems and the Covid-19 Lockdown
It's been tough on everybody. A rant.
The lockdown has been tough on everyone. I'm referring to those in the first world countries who are experiencing a huge shift in lifestyle. It's no denying that we continue to adjust to this new normal that never seems to have an end.
The lockdown was pretty tough on me because I went from going to university every day from 8am to 10pm to being in a household of 7 people in a 3 bedroom flat. The last time I was cooped up like this was when I was in secondary school and did not really have a choice to go out with my friends and just hang out. I come from a relatively conservative family. We are a Muslim household though we never did practice religiously but typical of Asian families, mine is no exception to "the elder is always right" or "you don't have enough experience to make your own decisions" kind of environment.
When I was younger I never thought much about how it affected me. In fact, I thought my mood swings and moodiness were attributed to being a basic teenager in a very progressive society. I often went head to head with my parents (and grandparents) on what is right and often question them of their religious practice whilst they criticise mine. I swear, the bad blood has never been thicker until I got into university when I was 20.
I started spending a lot of time outside due to my coursework and projects that require me to physically be out and about. This made my relationship with my family a lot more meaningful as we literally tried to spend whatever time we had together just bonding and talking about the things that mattered. Occasionally, we still had out spats but none like before. I became calmer with my family and even during work because I was doing something I loved. I also began to hang out more with my friends under the pretence of work which made my social life healthier too.
I remembered feeling so guilty in the beginning for not spending my extra time with my family. I had always considered myself to be family-oriented but being away felt really good. I had never felt lighter.
Then, the lockdown happened. The lockdown for some reason meant "holiday" to my parents. I still had online school going on but nobody seemed to care. My house was really small so I had to work on the dining table in the kitchen which proved to be disastrous as everyone started to feel entitled to my time. (Working in my room meant working in bed and listening to my sisters screaming on their phones while playing Minecraft. I swear this is real.)
It as if nobody cared that I needed the time to myself. I was so used to being out alone that seeing my family 24/7 mad me slip into my old ways. I would snap whenever someone would interrupt my flow. I would get really agitated quickly when things were not going my way. I did not have any privacy so my family became my punching bag whenever things did not go my way. It worked both ways too. When I would be listening to a lecture, my mother would be across from me complaining about her work. It was tough on everybody.
Then Ramadan came. I had made a promise to myself to prioritise myself no matter what everybody said. The first thing I did was sit everybody down and tell them my goals. They laughed. They thought I was joking when I showed them my plan. They had no faith that I will be able to reach my goals.
My goals were basic:
- Pray 5 times a day
- Complete the Chloe Ting 2-week Shred Challenge
- Cook 3 meals a week
- Drink 2l of water a day
Basic right? Typical Muslim girl stuff. I did not have huge problems or anything just wanted to improve myself.
I started doing them and something magical happened. Those who laughed actually began to pick up the habits too. It was weird - like a habit osmosis. This was the moment I realised the effect I had on everybody else. I had been focusing so much on how everyone affected me but this proved that it was a 2-way street. I am kind of proud of myself for realising this.
It has been 1 week into Ramadan - 3 weeks to go. For the first time in this lockdown, I was excited to see how my family develops and grows in these trying times. It was nice to see a positive change since I "moved back in". While I really do hope this lockdown will end soon, I really don't think that these positive changes could have happened without the lockdown (as morbid as that sounds). I hope everybody will stay safe and healthy in these trying times!