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The Two Things I Learned From the Coronavirus Pandemic

Sarah was affected by the coronavirus pandemic by being put on furlough from her job and she had to go on unemployment for a few months.

The coronavirus pandemic was something no one could've expected. In the United States, we heard rumors of some kind of virus that was affecting Wuhan, China in January 2020. We were curious about this virus but didn't take it seriously because it felt so far away from the United States. Also, in the past, we heard of different viruses that affected places like China and Africa but these viruses never gained much traction in the United States. Therefore, we thought that the coronavirus was another one of these viruses that would just stay in China, or if the virus came to the United States, it wouldn't be a big deal.

No one expected the coronavirus to spread throughout the entire world and put everyone in quarantine for almost a whole year. No one expected everything to shut down and for everything in our lives to change in an instant. When the coronavirus happened, I was working for Walt Disney World and we started hearing about the virus on the news. I was worried about it because it was something new and it was definitely gaining a lot of traction in the United States. Then, Walt Disney World announced it would be shutting down for two weeks. Walt Disney World hardly ever shuts down unless there's a big hurricane passing by so for Walt Disney World to shut down, it must've been a big deal. I remember Walt Disney World then proceeded to shut down for a total of three months before reopening in July 2020 and within this time frame, I had to go on unemployment to continue receiving income to pay my rent and bills.

Unfortunately, even after these three months, the coronavirus was far from over and it was still going strong in 2021. Each and everyone has a different opinion and a different personal experience resulting from the coronavirus pandemic, but I'd like to talk about the two things I learned during this time.

1. Don't Wait

One of the most valuable lessons I learned from the coronavirus was to not waste time and don't wait. If there's something you really want to do, you should do it because you never know if you'll get another day. If you wait around until the time is right or when you're retired, you may not get the chance to do it. Hundreds of people were catching the coronavirus and just dying on the news and since there is no cure for the coronavirus, your life is just up to chance. It was said that if you wore a mask indoors and outdoors at all times this would greatly decrease your chances of catching the coronavirus but at the same time, you could still catch it.

The coronavirus is an airborne virus just like a cold so even if you do your best to wash your hands and not touch your face, the droplets could still be inhaled into your nose or throat. For example, if you need to take a drink of water or eat something, you can't do that with a mask on so you would have to take it off. In the minute you drink water or in the few minutes it takes you to eat something, you could catch the coronavirus. Therefore, I learned that I shouldn't wait to do something I wanted to do. I wanted to travel more and I wanted to take up more side hobbies like writing and becoming a Youtuber. These were things that I kept saying that I had no time for and kept making excuses not to do them but the possibility of catching the coronavirus and dying from it within two weeks, made me motivated to do more.

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In May 2021, I took the chance to travel to Denver and went on a road trip from Denver to Salt Lake City. The flights weren't expensive and I'd always wanted to see those cities so my husband and I hopped on a plane and went on vacation for four days. A lot of people saw that as risky because we could've caught the coronavirus on the plane or while traveling in those cities. However, our mindset was why wait until we get old or die when we could do this now when we are healthy and happy?

From August 2021 to April 2022, we traveled somewhere every month and even though our credit cards feel like they're high now, we don't have any regrets. We've been to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas, New York City, Boston, New Jersey, Portugal, Spain, France, Mexico, and the Bahamas. Not to mention we did six cruises in less than six months. We enjoyed our vacations and seeing new places and we wouldn't have done a lot of these trips if not for the coronavirus changing our mindset.

2. Time with Family and Friends Is The Most Valuable Thing

Another big lesson the coronavirus pandemic taught me is that time is such a valuable thing. We never have enough and as humans, we always feel we need more. We definitely should cherish the time spent with our loved ones because you never know what could happen tomorrow. Our loved ones could be perfectly happy today and in the hospital tomorrow. The coronavirus killed so many people and put so many people in the hospital that it was really scary. Thankfully, none of my friends or family died from the coronavirus but I can barely imagine how I'd feel if they did.

Therefore, I learned to cherish the time spent with my friends and family and always value it. A big reason I left the Walt Disney Company was that I felt like I wasn't able to have time with my loved ones. After Walt Disney World reopened, I wasn't allowed to take time off and flexibility in the job disappeared. I felt like I was missing out on important moments with my family like celebrating the holidays together and being able to spend time with my husband. Also, when Walt Disney World reopened, my friend died of cancer, and because I had to work, I wasn't allowed to take the days off to see her on her last days. I was very heartbroken at not being able to fly there and I didn't want to have to go through that again.

© 2022 Sarah Wong

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