QUARANTINE TIMES: JOURNEY OF SELF-DISCOVERY
Updated: Aug 6
I learned to clap as an 8-month old boy on the plane trip home from a vacation in Hawaii and spent over half of the six-hour flight giving various passengers rounds of applause. I was that one kid in pre-school who would never settle down during nap-time. When people asked what my favorite class was, I always answered “gym and recess!” I have always been an energetic person and grew up playing multiple sports.
Now, a collegiate soccer player and marathon runner, I’ve endured year-round practices, lifts, games, and running miles and miles throughout the summer.
However, a few weeks ago, I found myself exhausted for the first time in a while, as COVID-19 continued to spread throughout the United States. It seemed that one could not escape the Coronavirus fear pandemic either -- the amount of media coverage, notifications, alerts and safety procedures have overwhelmed all of us.
The disease has physically claimed many, but mentally, it has been equally devastating. Our lives have been drastically changed, and it is impossible to return to the state that we once deemed ‘normal.’
Despite the devastation, panic and uncertainty that lies ahead of us, I believe that there is a silver lining to our current situation. More people are finding creative, safe ways to maintain relationships and use technology as it was intended to be used: to connect people, as opposed to providing an escape from real world interactions.
Personally, during the last few weeks at home, I have noticed people appreciating aspects of their lives that they might have previously overlooked, such as their health, financial stability and, specifically, nature. As someone who has been running for several years now, I have noticed the increase in the number of people who are taking advantage of the great outdoors, and it has brought me joy. Perhaps the influx of people finding refuge in Mother Nature will ultimately help the conservation and preservation efforts for our planet!
I have used this time to become more present, frequently finding myself out on the long dirt roads near my house. As I listen to the pounding of my footsteps and the sound of birds chirping, it dawns on me how fragile our lives really are. I have been able to escape the overwhelming feeling of this virus through running and other outdoor activities, and I encourage others who feel trapped or anxious to find happiness in their own personal ways.
We are so small in the grand scheme of the universe, and this contagion has made it evident that our lives are always in the balance. While nothing is a given anymore, we can all benefit if we are motivated by the urge to make the best out of what we have, and to help our fellow humans along the way. We will make it out of this, but the larger question is what kind of society will we return to? The answer can be something we can all look forward to we work together to conquer all of the negativity and fear.
To end with a final thought, I remember watching renowned Kenyan distance runner, Eliud Kipchoge, attempt to run a marathon in less than 2 hours. I am a big running nerd, but for those of you who aren’t, this was believed to be a super human task – some scientists even theorized that anyone who attempted it would die.
Kipchoge, tasked with running 26.2 miles in 4 minutes and 34 seconds, achieved this incredible feat last October in Italy. I remember watching Eliud run, seeing the grit and pain etched across his face, while his body refused to give up. I remember the smile on his face when the clock read 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds as he crossed the line.
Our lives are like this run: we are faced with a seemingly super human task, full of uphill struggles, pain and doubt. However, like Kipchoge, we cannot give up and, as hard as it may be, we must continue to put one foot in front of the other and move forward. As long as we do, we will accomplish something that history has never seen before, and the world will applaud our efforts.
~~ Daniel Reid, Class of '21 (Communication Arts Major)
WHILE WE SHOULD ALL EXERCISE TO KEEP OUR MINDS & BODIES IN SHAPE, LET US NOT RUN AWAY FROM THE HARDSHIPS THAT SOME OF OUR GATORS ARE FACING. PLEASE DONATE TO HELP A FELLOW GATOR IN NEED. THANK YOU.