So these past few months have been an enlightening time, with Covid-19 sweeping in and changing the way the world works forever. It’s done so with such proficiency that it seems like our old way of living has gone out the window.
But I’m not complaining, because for me, things have actually turned out for the better.
Plus, when your choices are limited to vegging out, exercising, or crying in the fetal position, it becomes much easier to do the important things, which in my case, involves all three of the above, in that order.
Counting my blessings
As someone who quit his job to write a novel, I have to say that I’ve been one of the least affected people when it comes to lifestyle change. What would seem like hell for many others would just be another Tuesday to me.
Yet for some weird reason, I feel I was granted the productivity zeal of the gods.
You know those friends of yours who’d become Gordon Ramsay overnight? The ones who’d work out every day and are now ten pounds lighter? Those annoying people who just can’t stop flexing their new penchant for hustling? Yeah I’m one of them.
I can’t say what it is that’s pushing me to do more things, because like I said, I’m fortunate enough to have a similar life before and after Covid-19.
But boy, something about the world being put on hold just lights a fire under my ass. And I’m not even remotely competitive. If you know me in person, you’d know how rare it is that I’d ever strove to be the best in something.
That’s because I haven’t.
Maybe my turning point came from the realisation that jiu-jitsu classes would be off the table for a while. That was my only form of exercise (and sanity) to date, so news of the quarantine hit me pretty hard.
Why? Because I hate exercising. I really do. Maybe that’s why my sport of choice involves being crushed under heavy, sweaty men unless I really put in the work to escape. And once that was taken away, I felt a very real risk of turning into the teenage me—a couch potato that’d only get out of bed to get high.
But having nothing to do did have its miracles. I looked up prison workout routines, because it was either that or stare at the four walls every day. One thing led to another, and now I’m doing 200 burpees a day because that’s how I get into the mood for crying. In the fetal position.
And you know what? I’ve learned that, as much as I hate exercise, I can actually do anything I set my mind to. And I can make things happen no matter how my life turns out.
More quarantine lessons
This quarantine has also taught me a couple other things: that I’ve had nothing but excuses all this while, and that I perform much better when my choices are limited.
Today it’s all non-negotiable. I wake up, I journal, I learn Chinese, I meditate, I exercise, and then I start my day. Back then, I used to think that I couldn’t exercise in the morning. That I’d be too sleepy. That my body wouldn’t be warmed up. That it’d be impossible to get started early in the morning.
But now that I don’t have a choice, I actually do my tasks with less resistance.
Now, I’m aware of the clapback that’s been happening online—the calls for people to relax, to not feel obliged to be productive—and I get that. Because I’m one of the least productive people alive.
But I’ve also begun to realise that it’s not about you. Or me. It’s about us as a collective whole.
A new perspective
Maybe introverts and hermits exist so that when shit like this happens, they can be the ones who’d thrive and ensure the continuity of the human race. And once that’s over and done with, the extroverts can come back out and lead everyone into rebuilding.
Maybe the athletic people are here to help us hunt and fight, while the couch potatoes are built to withstand long seasons of famine and drought.
Maybe. But they could also be my shower thoughts with no real substance behind them.
“As the ocean ‘waves’, the universe ‘peoples’.”
Like it or not, we rely on each other. We can’t all know how to build websites, or service cars, or manage cancer. We each have our own gifts to offer humanity, and it’s our job to find them, so that we can play our part in bettering the lives of the people around—and after—us.
Maybe it’s not about our level of productivity, or whether we land that job that society deems worthwhile. Maybe it’s about finding your place in this wave of life and putting as much push as you can into it.
Because no matter who you are—ambitious, lazy, straight, gay, big, small, outgoing, hermit, black, yellow, white, carpenter, doctor, struggling writer—you have a place in this world.
And the only thing that should matter is if you’re going to embrace it or not.