“Right Now”

We are all blown away by the magnitude of what I want to call “right now”.

Sure, we all heard about COVID-19 back in December, but it was a far away thing. It wasn’t going to touch us. People were going to get sick, but then they’ll get better. It was a problem… but not too big.

But now… now we’re in the “right now”. The world has been shut down for over a month. March was a nightmare – first we thought everything would be fine. Then there were travel bans. Reported outbreaks in airports. Suddenly, New York was shutting down. Europe was the epicenter for the disease. People were now working from home. Face masks became the new style – not because they would stop the airborne virus, but because it stopped us from touching our faces. Social events were cancelled. Then school breaks were extended until the year was transitioned to online school all together. Scientists rushed to find a cure… but even if they find it, how can it be distributed to everyone?

And the “right now” is slowly becoming the new normal. We spent half of March and all of April under lock down and social distancing procedures. We’re pros at it by now. And now that we’ve had all that time to practice… states are deciding to open back up.

That doesn’t mean this virus is over with. Definitely not. Maybe we’ll get a summer outside. Maybe no one will be allowed to go to school in the fall. Who knows? And even after the world has figured out how to manage this threat, how are we going to return to normal?

Will there be a normal? Will we all naturally want to keep our distance? Will face masks stay in fashion for the rest of 2020, and possibly into 2021? Will people actually want to go out?

It sounds kinda like a dystopian novel, doesn’t it?

The “right now” part of our lives will stay with us forever. We’ll always remember our quarantine days. Maybe that’s why I write about it so much these days. I don’t want to forget.

This is my seventh week of this. Seven weeks ago… I went to London. Because we thought it was safe to go on a trip. And now, no one would even think of getting on a plane.

For a while, I fixated on all the things I wasn’t getting from 2020 anymore. My Europe trip. My 18th birthday. My prom. My last day of high school. My graduation. My senior trip with my mom that I’ve been thinking about since Freshman year.

The timing is just fabulous, isn’t it?

But now… I’m fixated on something completely different.

I lost a lot of milestones this year. I might miss a few more milestones than I was anticipating if this virus keeps on.

But if there’s one good opportunity that Coronavirus opened up for every single person stuck at home or working fearlessly in their essential job, it’s this:

Every person has all the time in the world to be kind.

To be outrageously generous.

To think of others like never before.

To turn around a single person’s day just because.

I am blown away by the “right now”. But I’m blown away because of the love people have shown me in the last couple of days.

On Friday, I turned 18.

It should have been a big moment. I should have had my friends and family around me to celebrate reaching adulthood. I should have been excited for that day.

Except… I wasn’t. I wasn’t excited because I knew COVID-19 was forcing me to stay inside my house, for the safety of my community. That meant I couldn’t see my friends. I couldn’t go out to celebrate. And I really wasn’t sure if anyone outside of my household would remember anyways.

I’m sorry I forgot how extraordinarily giving people in my life could be.

On Thursday night, a few friends sneaked to my house to decorate my car in hearts. Then on Friday, I got surprise, social distancing visits from friends, who knocked on my door with little gifts and wanted to see how I was. I got dozens of text messages wishing me a happy birthday.

The people in my life hadn’t forgotten. And they were committed to making it special.

But along with all these surprise visits… I got surprise packages. And emails. And free books. All from published authors who heard it was my birthday through a writer in my family and wanted to wish a complete stranger well.

I have never, ever experienced so much thoughtfulness. People I loved and cared about deeply and people I had never even met were willing to take a moment to make my birthday special. Just because.

It’s hard to find opportunities to be kind in “right now”.

It’s hard to be generous when there’s so much to worry about.

There is so much going on. A moment of giving doesn’t change the fact that people are struggling right now. That people we know and love are dying from this virus when they would have otherwise lived. That we’re missing out on all our plans. That’s we’re having to stay isolated when it feels only natural to come together for support.

I’m experiencing all of those too. “Right now” feels like an unfair plot twist. It feels like something we won’t be able to come out of unscathed.

But just because we’re isolated doesn’t mean we’re alone. You still have neighbors. And friends. And family. And people across the country who’s 18th birthday is happening during a pandemic.

If you see someone you can love for just a moment, then do it. Why not?

There is so much pain and fear and worry in the world right now. But each of us has a super power (the same one, as it happens): we have time. And we know someone who might need a little love right now.


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