Last night, my friends from all over the world downloaded Psych and played several games together to distract themselves from everything that’s happening right now. What followed was a lot of screaming, a lot of frustration and a lot of laughter – but what stood out to me from it all was how we all were actually doing this together.
Here’s the thing – life is hectic. Even if you’re a phone addict on a normal basis, your friend circle might not be. They might have jobs to attend to, errands to get done, people to meet and in simple terms – have a life. And that’s okay. It’s an understood thing that you can’t make time out for everyone and sometimes, no one at all. Maybe you have long work hours and are too tired after it to socialise, or maybe you socialise so much with the people in the same city as you that you don’t get time to catch up with your friends and family around the world. Maybe you’re just bad with your phone. But suddenly, we all have been thrown into a situation where our phones and gadgets are the only things capable of keeping us busy – I mean, we have our thoughts for company but mine would definitely drive me crazy right now.
All I’ve been wanting till now was for this to be over and don’t get me wrong, that’s still what I want. But I was so busy feeding myself every kind of information I could about the virus that I didn’t take a moment to pause and focus on everything else that’s happening around me. I didn’t realise how fast I was getting replies from my friends or how fast I was replying to them. Suddenly, I was engaging in the kind of meaningful conversations with my long distance friends that I haven’t been able to in a while. Never have we all been able to coordinate a video call, let alone a whole long distance game night. But here we were having house party calls and ludo star sessions – things that I never expected some of my friends to ever willingly make time out for.
The reason everyone is able to suddenly be so connected is because we all are going through the same, exact thing. For the first time it’s not just one part of the world that’s affected by a tragedy, it’s the whole of it. Let that sink in. In the face of such a threat, no other difference matters. Racial, cultural, religious and social distinctions have blurred to make one thing stand out – we are all human and so, all susceptible to catching the virus. Shouldn’t this make us question the differences we let plague our societies otherwise? Why do we let gender, religion and caste define so many of our decisions when it can all stop mattering in an instant? The one thing that does matter and what all of us should think about during this time, is privilege. It’s something most of us have in some way, whether that’s through wealth or health. How can we use the privilege we have to be better? If you’re healthy right now, take a moment to be grateful. If you have a roof over your head and don’t have to worry about your financial situation, be grateful.
Let’s hope this ends soon and that something like this never happens again, but let’s also hope that our lives don’t go back to what they were. This generation has never before been given the chance to put their life on pause and work on themselves – let’s use this time to do that. Strengthen relationships with one another, work on that business plan, write that book, take up that skill you’ve been meaning to – but do it all with gratitude. You’re alive. You’re already better off than most. How can you use that gift to be a better person?