Fuck. Another day of this bullshit. Today is my 28th day of isolation from the coronavirus pandemic. I want to call it, “The Coronavirus Shit Show,” and it feels good to just type the words “fuck” and “shit,” considering that if I said the words out loud no one would hear me. But wait, I realize that I’m supposed to practice gratitude for the whole month of April so let me try again…
I’m in bed with my trusted friend, Google, and I wonder and search how many people in the U.S. are living by themselves. As of 2019 there were 128.58 million households with 36.48 million being single households. As people who are living with family or others complain and bitch about getting on each others nerves, I’m convinced that living solo is far worse. I feel like I’m in solitary confinement in a jail, and if you Google the effects of solitary confinement, it ain’t pretty, my friends! My favorite finding is that it can make you hallucinate (I chuckle as I wish this happened to me as a form of entertainment), but there are WAY too many negative effects of social isolation (280 million results from Google!). As I scan through the results I feel like I can relate to all of them, just like how when you Google medical symptoms and you think you have them ALL! (This is never a good idea, by the way).
Each day I wake up I think of ways to survive and get through the day. I’m laid off from work temporarily until the end of this month, and I desperately wish I could be one of those people who are so fortunate to be able to work from home. And it’s not like I can immediately go get a job in the same industry considering that I’m in retail. Fuck again. Surprisingly I’m calm. I’m not sure yet if it’s my daily meditation practice or denial, or both? When I’m stressed and looking for answers to life’s questions I always think of people who overcame the greatest of obstacles. And this morning as I wonder about others that are single, like me, and how they are going through this social isolation, this shitshow, I wonder how people like Nelson Mandela survived 27 years of jail time. BUT HE DID IT. And then I think about a man named Anthony Ray Hinton who served 28 years on death row, wrongly accused. He survived that, too. It’s amazing how resilient these amazing men are! Certainly I can withstand a month or two of this bullshit world crisis, this shitshow.
As I think that this social isolation from the coronavirus, as well as unemployment, is the absolute worst crisis of my life, I just realized that it is not. I was so engrossed in this current situation, this huge world problem, that I forgot that I had far worse times in my life. Damn. Here I go…my dad was sick for years from cancer until he finally passed away. I was 27 years old. I had to organize a funeral (a fucking funeral!) with my mom at my side who could hardly speak English. For months I had to try to translate medical terminology in English to Korean, which I didn’t do very well since I was only eight years old when I came to the U.S., and my Korean as well as my Korean ness was fading and has been fading for years. This added to the strain of my relationship with my mom. Big time. I hated the responsibility to be the one who had to take care of things, and that is exactly the moment I became a real adult. No one, and I do mean NO ONE, should ever have to organize a fucking funeral for their parents. But I did it. And, unfortunately, most of you will have to do it eventually, I’m sorry to say.
So how is this related to gratefulness? If you are reading this and have a job, you’re lucky. If you’re healthy, even better. If you are loved, awesome! And if you have one or both parents still living and healthy, I can’t think of anything better. Truly. So try having these thoughts of gratitude first thing in the morning which ends up setting the tone for the day. The human brain, because it’s a reptilian brain, is responsible for our survival instincts. That is why most people wake up and think of problems so they can, in a sense, survive by fixing the problem. I have done a lot of research on the brain, meditation, as well as happiness and human performance so I know that starting each day with a grateful thought works. This is so simple and life changing.
As we continue to live through these unprecedented times, the only thing we have control over is how we react to life. Yes, it’s bad. But not THAT bad. Everything is temporary, good and bad. Let’s just be grateful that this, too, for sure, will pass.