Hello, everyone! Welcome to Day 2 of this three-week coronavirus quarantine series. How’s everyone holding up? I know being holed up in the house can be frustrating, and by now, I’m definitely feeling the heat of cabin fever.
Interestingly enough, despite not being able to leave the house (other than to run or get groceries), I find myself being the most productive I have been in a long while. Being at home with nothing to do gives you no excuse but to tackle your goals. No more excuse of, “Oh, I’m too busy running errands or hanging out with friends”, and the like. You have all this free time on your hands, and how you choose to spend it is completely up to you.
Before this quarantine started, I was dreading the idea of being trapped in my house. What would I do with all this time on my hands?! But then, I was reminded of the 2010 Disney movie, “Tangled”, which tells the age-old fairytale of Rapunzel. We all know how the story goes. Rapunzel, a girl with long, golden hair, spent her whole life trapped inside a tower at the mercy of her evil mother. In the movie “Tangled”, one of the opening songs is called “When Will My Life Begin”. In the song, Rapunzel sings about how she occupies her endless days in the tower. She sings about cleaning her room, doing laundry, reading two or three books, painting, knitting, dancing, stretching, playing chess, sewing a dress, and brushing her hair. See? Rapunzel has it all figured out! Instead of idling her time away on binge-watching Netflix or scrolling through social media (not that she would have access to either, in her day and age), she is actually able to stay busy and productive. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I am inspired by this fictitious character. Thus far, I have been doing a pretty good job of setting a daily schedule filled with goals to achieve, and exercising discipline to follow through.
Today wasn’t perfect. As usual, I didn’t wake up to my 8am alarm, and instead slept well past noon. I really need to start taking my sleeping medication earlier in the evening! However, I did accomplish some noteworthy goals. For the first time in forever, I picked up running again. It wasn’t that impressive– I ran in 10-minute intervals, with each set of intensive running followed by a 5-minute walking break. In total, I ran/walked about a mile-and-a-half. Not too shabby for someone as out of shape as I am. After my run, I came home, pulled out my dusty stretching mat, and did some stretching and conditioning exercises. A goal of mine is to gain back my flexibility and get back into tip-top shape. It’ll take some time, so I need to be patient with myself. What helps me stay motivated is enjoying the process of improving. I take it day by day. Instead of judging myself for being so far from my end goal and moping about how long the process will take, I catch myself when my mind starts wandering into the far future, and bring myself back to the present moment. Each day is a new opportunity to improve. Focus on the present moment, and nothing else.
In addition to getting off my butt and exercising, I also made some money by helping a friend edit his 10-page paper. It is due at midnight tonight, and he sent me his essay around 6pm. I was a little stressed because of the time crunch, but the editing process went smoothly, and I felt very accomplished at the end of the day.
What else, what else? Ahh. I made a lot of progress in reading the book “Grit”, by Angela Duckworth. The book is ground-breaking and, for many, life-changing. I aim to finish the book by the end of this week. More on “Grit” later, when I finish reading.
Of course, with all this free time, I indulged a little bit on some TV-watching. I finished the second and (most likely) final season of the HBO Now show, “Big Little Lies”. The plot twist at the end was a fitting ending to a film that explores dark themes of abuse, rape, jealousy, and greed. I highly recommend the show. Another interesting thing is that the show is comprised of A-lister Hollywood stars, including Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz, and Meryl Streep. Not many shows are able to gather together these highly successful, incredibly high profile and busy actors and actresses. So that right there is a special treat for fans like myself.
In other news, today, UCLA made the momentous, heart-wrenching decision to cancel the class of 2020’s graduation ceremony and instead move it online. The backlash from UCLA students was brutal. Many have signed a petition to postpone the in-person ceremony to after the pandemic has passed. I can empathize with many Bruins. An online graduation? Seriously? How can that possibly do justice to celebrating the end of a challenging but incredibly rewarding four years of undergrad? Walking across the graduation stage is a symbol of the end of one formative life chapter, and the beginning of another. It is heartbreaking that college seniors are unable to partake in this joyous celebration. That being said, I understand that drastic measures need to be taken during this dark time in human history. Can you imagine hundreds of people from all around the world, gathered together in the same room, in close proximity to one another? It’s a breeding ground for the coronavirus to spread and can wreak tremendous havoc on an already dire situation.
I truly hope that this virus can be contained as soon as possible, so that people will no longer suffer. What is happening right now is surreal. The next generations will be reading about this pandemic in history textbooks. This is a time when humanity must put aside our differences and unite to eradicate this global pandemic. I know these words are nice-sounding and somewhat naively magnanimous. But these words ring truer than ever during this scary, confusing, volatile time.
I also want to commend the unsung heroes who have bravely fought on the front-lines of the battle. First-responders, doctors, nurses, epidemiologists, immunologists, the list goes on. Thank you, everyone, for containing the virus as best as you can, for healing the sick and mitigating human suffering. We appreciate you tremendously. Whenever I start feeling sorry for me and my present situation, I think of those who work in healthcare and am reminded that I have it good. All I have to do to fulfill my civic duty is sit at home, while these every day heroes must put their health at risk, day in and day out, to serve others. In dire circumstances, the best of humanity shines bright. There is hope, after all.
Stay vigilant, keep washing your hands, and be kind to others. Good will always trump evil.