by Naana Bodomo
The city is silent all around me. Playground carousels rotated only by the wind. Store fronts left desolate and dormant. Stillness echoing through the deserted streets.
If you don’t look close enough you might think that Vienna has been completely abandoned. But when you squint you will see that there is still light and life brimming out of little boxes.
Some are picking up a paintbrush for the first time in years. Some are numbing their boredom with Netflix and video games. Some are escaping reality through novels. Some are falling in love. Some have found themselves trapped in hell. Some are finally getting to know people who they have lived with for years. Some have been left alone with tangled thoughts that have been waiting to be combed out.
When we think of life, we think of being born, graduating, getting a job and creating a next generation. But we have fooled ourselves into thinking that life only happens in the form of these momentous occasions. Life is always happening. Life is a collection of the little moments that we usually miss because we are too busy obsessing over an irretrievable past or meticulously planning for an unguaranteed future.
Of course, milestones are important and signify achievements in our lives that we should be proud of. But life is also laughing so hard you cry. Life is running through an open field. Life is catching up with an old friend for the first time in years and feeling like no time has passed. Life is revisiting your childhood hobby and feeling young again. And sadly, life is also unexpectedly losing a loved one to a sudden pandemic.
Corona virus has mercilessly robbed our planet of so many souls that were taken too soon. But it has also forced us to live in the moment. It has forced us to have some quality time with our thoughts. To appreciate everyday privileges that we previously never thought twice about. To take in life.
It is often in the darkest of times that the most beautiful things are created. Wēijī (危机), the Mandarin word for ‘crisis’, consists of two characters – Wēi (危), meaning ‘danger’ and jī (机) meaning ‘opportunity’.
We have already witnessed the danger and destruction of COVID19 but maybe all of this loss does not have to be in vain. Maybe it is time for us to all take this crisis and turn it into an opportunity to better ourselves and our world. As an opportunity to remember what we really are – human beings who belong to this Earth. This virus has been a huge wake up call and a reminder that no matter how much money or power we possess, biology always wins at the end of the day. No matter what, we are human at our core.
So let us celebrate this human existence. Let us continue to sing to each other from balconies. Let us continue to support those who are fighting for their lives and those who are fighting to save them. Let us continue to be kind to ourselves and to one another because, at the end of the day, we are all just walking each other home.