For The Daily Gazette
As I’ve been stuck in my adolescent bedroom for the last couple days, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on the entirety of our country’s current crisis.
Some say the COVID-19 global pandemic is really “ruining” their lives. I agree that the pandemic has caused drastic changes in everyone’s life.
But instead of viewing my life as being ruined, I like to believe that this has opened my eyes.
My eyes are finally seeing the world in a new light. For one, we have been truly privileged and, at times, ungrateful.
Students my age are complaining about having classes online and having to remain at home or in their off-campus apartments.
But what about the young adults all over the world who can’t attend college at all?
People are annoyed that they can’t go to the gym or salons. But what about the people who are forced to live in hiding due to their country’s dictator?
I know I am taking a dramatic approach. But seriously, we have been far too ignorant for far too long.
Did we all believe the coronavirus couldn’t touch us? That we, as Americans, were untouchable?
When I think about what it’s been like for me being in self-quarantine, I’ve found myself guilty of these mindsets at times.
Yes, I wish I could go get my nails done and go to the gym with my friends. I wish I could still go out on the weekends or shop at the mall.
But once I really reflected on everything, it all started to click for me.
People are dying. People have to go home to their abusers or to no home at all.
Kids are starving because they relied on school meals to get fed. People are losing their jobs and unable to support their families.
The people who still do have jobs are risking their own health, every day for the rest of us. And that’s just in our own country.
There are so many things to be grateful for during this time.
Be grateful for having your family and loved ones.
Be grateful for having a roof over your head and food to eat.
Be grateful for your health.
As I have started to incorporate these new mindsets into my present daily life, I’ve been spending more time with my family.
I had forgotten how important quality family time was, as I was always “too busy.”
It always seemed there’d be enough time for that.
But as this pandemic has proven to many families, life is unpredictable and shouldn’t be something we take for granted.
Just the other night, my grandmother, mother and I, created our own at-home salon. We did our own nails and face masks while reminiscing on past times together.
When the night had ended, I was no longer thinking about how much I wished I could go to the mall or the nail salon down the street.
I was thinking about how, in this moment, being with them was all I needed.
I never really thought about what a need and a want truly are. But for so long, I’ve considered so many things necessary that truly are not.
I am one of the lucky ones going through this. These “inconveniences” everyone keeps talking about have become something I want to personally start considering blessings.
All of these precautions being taken are not inconveniences if it means saving someone’s life.
So, the lessons of the COVID-19 virus, to me, is that life in the U.S. is a privilege that for so long so many of us have forgotten.
The lesson is that we should be grateful for what we have and not what we don’t.
The lesson is that we should all look at this as a wakeup call, because what happens when the virus is overcome and life goes back to normal?
Will we go back to the way things were, along with the mindsets we’ve all carried for so long? Or will we reflect on this terrifying period of our lives as a chance to change?
A chance to be better. Not only ourselves, but as a country.
Alexis Varamogiannis, a native of Syracuse who grew up in Loudonville, is a second semester junior at the University at Albany. She is a communications and sociology major, with a minor in journalism.