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We Are Thriving

By McKenzie Nelson

We Are Thriving

What is it now? Quarantine day 52?

I’ll admit, the days are starting to blur together. Every day feels like a Monday and a Friday at the same time. While March dragged on, April raced by, and, suddenly, it’s May. Time goes on and, yet, it feels like nothing has changed. The world around us is at a standstill. Some days, I realize that I’ve stopped thinking about the future because I’m so focused on getting through each day. I didn’t notice how much I had gotten stuck in the monotony of everyday until April 29th when I realized May was just around the corner. I became a little sad when I thought about how I had completely forgotten about my 25th birthday coming up. I had forgotten that I would be finishing graduate school in just a couple of weeks. I had stopped looking forward to these big things. I mean, come on! You don’t earn a Master’s degree every day! ...but I nearly forgot about it. 

Having something to look forward to has become very important in keeping my sanity recently. Margarita and I have committed ourselves to having theme nights every Friday. So far we’ve had a sushi restaurant, a movie theater, a spa, and a tiki bar. I’ve started doing online trivia with my sister every week and my family had a PowerPoint party via Zoom. It has been really fun to come up with new things to do and I can feel myself coming out of my creative shell. Now don’t get me wrong, all of this is great and has had a positive impact on my mental health. I think I got so wrapped up making it through day by day, week by week that I’ve forgotten to celebrate myself and what I have accomplished. 

Like I said, nothing has changed since quarantine has started...but really it has. A lot of things have changed in my life since I began social distancing. I learned how to use TikTok. I fostered, then adopted, a cat which has brought a lot of change. I transitioned all of my work online. I discovered that I don’t need to wear makeup every single day. I donated blood for the first time. I have talked to my family on the phone way more often than I did before. There are so many other changes that I could go on and on. And all of these are good things I wouldn’t have if life had gone on normally. 

I suppose the point is, right now, it feels like we’re all just surviving but, in a lot of ways, we’re thriving, too. While it felt like I was struggling to pay attention during evening Zoom classes, I was actually completing a major life accomplishment in the midst of everything. While rearranging my furniture into makeshift restaurants and movie theaters felt like place-holders for missing activities, they really are unique memories that I’ll never forget. While fostering my cat, Pekoe, started as some way I could do something to help in all this craziness, he’s now someone I can’t imagine my life without. And while I miss seeing and hugging my family, it feels like we’re closer than we were before. 

Change is inevitable, good and bad, but I have seen how we all have made it work. How we have turned these changes into opportunities and how we have come together to make change. Quarantine isn’t just happening to us. It seems like the days are passing us by but they aren’t. We are a resilient people; adapting, creating, and thriving.

-McKenzie Nelson

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