By Sukhi Borse | 

I’m talking about COVID-19. Big surprise.

I know it’s annoying to hear about this pandemic over and over again, but it is important to discuss it because it has affected the entire world. The way everyone is handling the situation is unique to each individual. This is expected because we have an array of personalities within the human population. Just within my family, my mother is going stir-crazy because she is the social butterfly of the bunch. Meanwhile, my father and brother are living their best lives as lifelong introverts and then there is me who is trying to make sense of it all. 

It’s amusing to see the dichotomy of two very different people react to this bizarre crisis. My mother, who has been so used to her spontaneous adventures like going night hiking or having a picnic with her friends, found herself restless due to the idleness of our situation. My father, on the other hand, has basically been doing his normal routine while managing a manufacturing company from home; he watches the news, does some light reading, and goes about his day as if everything is normal.

My brother, an introvert as well, has also found himself fine being stuck inside all day; he is, however, having to deal with  his own pre-existing depression. Surprisingly enough, he told me recently that this situation has helped him more than hurt him because he doesn’t feel as alone as he usually does. 

Listening to him made me look at this situation as a learning curve. At the end of the day, all of us have a hard time coming to terms with living with ourselves. Isolation isn’t natural for a lot of us. How isolated are we, though, if all of us are going through it together? In my eyes, I would say we’ve never been able to relate more to one another than now. 

I am an ambivert, meaning I am balanced in features of both an extrovert and an introvert. I like my alone time and it is necessary for my sanity, but I also like being around friends because I find myself to be less in my head when I am around others. My response to this debacle has been a mind game. I try to keep myself preoccupied with classwork, working out, or doing chores around the apartment, but the more I try to avoid the idleness of the situation, the less productive I become. Facing it and making peace with the fact that I’m stuck in this space all day has been far more effective than running away from the situation.  

The transition to online classes has worked better for me because I am more of an independent thinker, but it’s hard to focus enough to do tasks in my current environment. My parents, brother, my dog and I are packed like sardines in a one bedroom apartment because we were in the process of moving. Although it has been difficult, we have all adapted in a way to make the most of what’s going on around us. 

My brother has dove back into his music while my mother catches up on TV time and learning new, quick and easy recipes from crock pot shrimp curry to no bake peanut butter cookies for the family. My dad has been doing a lot of reading and I have been focused on classwork while also helping my mom in the kitchen. We are all also playing a lot of board games and learning to open up to each other about our own issues. 

It’s actually kind of nice right now because I am realizing that this situation is causing a lot of people to have to face their inner doubts and test their relationships with those close to them. I learned that, when my dad was a child, he dreamt of being in the Indian military and my mom told us about the time she snuck out of the family bungalow to go on a motorcycle ride through the farmlands of India. I am learning more about my parents now than I ever have before and to me- that’s a huge win. 

I think wherever you are and whichever type of person you are, be it the social butterfly or the quiet wallflower, this situation forces us all to think a little differently and be there for each other. And  I promise, somehow, at the end of this, we will definitely have learned more about others and ourselves.