A native New Yorker like me only recognize life as hustle and bustle, spending most of my life running and speeding to an invisible finish line. Maybe it’s death, I don’t know (lol).
I loved the rush but as I got older, the rush started to define my life. What am I doing next? Where do I see myself next? And before I can chase down my next big thing in life, I’d burnout 2-3 times in between. The burnout periods got longer and harder. Sometimes, making me want to give up everything I worked so hard for.
Then quarantine happened. This is a period I’d like to call, “time to rip off them bandaids,” and let’s just say, I got a whole lot of them. While I was running in life, I didn’t stop to appreciate life for what it was and I didn’t stop to recognize the accomplishments that I have made. Most importantly, I didn’t stop to heal from things that have hurt me, whether it was broken friendships, toxic relationships, or familial-based pain.
Peeling away all those bandaids and sitting in my own discomfort and pain, I recognized how weak I was on my own and how hard it was to face my demons. But the act of peeling and simply being present with myself was exactly what I needed in order to heal, grow and become stronger.
After I finish “peeling”, I started to unravel my truth and slowed down the pace of my life drastically. I went from running in life to simply walking. In my metaphorical walks, I learned about myself. I learned how to love and take care of myself. I learned how I wanted to be loved. I learned that I needed to set boundaries with people in my life. I learned that happiness is truly found within, not in extrinsic values.
I’m tremendously grateful for taking this major pause in life and having the privilege to do so because now, I’m walking towards the right direction for my life. Away from the hustle and bustle. Away from the noise from social media and NYC. Away from societal expectations and peer pressure. And towards what I know would allow me to live a happy and fulfilling life.
I haven’t been very active with this blog and podcast due to this pause. After a well rested month, I found a lot of desire to write this article. I wanted to share the liberation of living in the now, loving oneself, and slowing down. I’d like to believe quarantine opened the eyes of many to things that we’ve never batted an eye on. But I’d like to very much believe that this time is catalyst for a better future, on a individual level and communal level. Awareness is nothing without change, conviction, and action.
Let’s learn to take a break, reflect, and to love one another (as hippie as that sounds). In that, we can make a real impact on the world around us.