As in an apocalyptic movie, I see myself and my surroundings regardless of race, religion, or where we are. The most important matter is that mobility and freedom are jeopardized. A virus is changing everything, closing borders, and shutting down economies around the world. It is curious to see how we are reacting to the situation little by little, some are incredulous and some others are panicking while facing one of the world’s worst catastrophes. At first, maybe I decided to stay on the side of the disbelievers.
Since all of this started at the beginning of the year in China, one of the persons who I love the most and means the most in my life, my sister, was in Beijing. The source of the infection was in a limited area by then, considering the huge territory that is China. We were a little bit scared when we heard that the whole province of Hubei was being locked down in quarantine. I remember starting asking my sister about the development of the situation, and suggesting her to leave the country. After a while, around the time of Chinese New Year, the whole world had their eyes on China. At the end of January, I practically begged my sister to go back to Mexico, and eventually she did, leaving Beijing, which as one of the most populated cities in the world started to look soulless and deserted with most of its inhabitants confined in their houses.
On the other hand, I was starting my month of February, traveling and moving as I have been doing until now, and being used to be a citizen of the world. I left on January 31st from Barcelona to Paris, a few days later I travelled to London, then the Alps, other provinces in France, and then back to Barcelona. I almost had a normal life during this month. In Europe, people began to talk about the virus when the infection started spreading in the north of Italy, and then a few cases appeared in Spain, France, United States, and even in Mexico. Between the news and population talking about the topic with uncertainty, disbelievers mocking the situation or being tired of hearing the same thing again and again, all we heard is that “it is only a flue, or that it only affects elderlies, or even that only some aged people could die.”
Today, in this moment, I’m flying from Prague back to Barcelona on a semi-empty flight, after being in a semi-empty airport, with the news that apparently next week not only Italy will be completely shut down, but that many other countries are thinking of making their citizens stay at home. This has started to have aftermaths for me as well. Although between the chaos, and all the changes in my agenda on previously planned trips, not only for work, but also for pleasure, the beginning of the quarantine period appears as the only logical and responsible option.
At the end of the day I understand how the world is feeling while facing all this uncertainty. A lot of us are trying to keep going on our day-to-day activities, looking for a path to continue with our lives, but also with the imminent possibility of having to abruptly stop it all. Of course many are feeling scared, especially the ones who make up for a living one day at a time, and I think about all the days that China has been completely stopped by now. Even now that the virus is under control, China still hasn’t resumed their activities, and this is probably because the crisis is worldwide now. The same happens with the USA and other countries in Europe, which are now closing their borders. As I said before, the scenario of shutting down schools, jobs, and avoiding any kind of mass gathering, is going to be a reality for most of the countries in Europe from next week, as the virus is evolving.
I’m trying to see the bigger picture of the scenario that we are going to live, which will consist in trying to slow down, stay at home, and reflect on our own selves. At the moment, the only thing I think about is the most tender moment I lived yesterday with my boyfriend while talking to him as I told him “ok, if we have to go into a quarantine, the only thing that would be good about it, would be to live it by your side, and stay together…” It’s been a while since I call “home” the place where I’m at, and with whom, rather than a building, or a specific location. Of course I have a house, a family, friends, and a lot of people who I dearly love, and who love me back. I also have a remarkable boyfriend who I strongly love, and feel loved by him in the same way, who I try to be with every weekend, as we live in different countries. I tell you all of this because precisely now that we must stay at “home”, it makes me think of where I would like to be, and most importantly that this time might give me the chance and opportunity to really appreciate what really matters in life.
This situation makes me reflect upon the things that are really worthy, meaningful, and transcending. The world is changing at a bigger scale in front of our eyes, with movements that lead us to a deeper consciousness about ourselves and our society. Just on the weekend of March 8th we saw clear examples of movements showing this consciousness, pleading to stop violence, and being more aware of values such as love and respect. The same is happening now with the virus. If we are capable to reflect more and go deeper, we will realize that the most important things in life are not our bank accounts, our ownerships, or how much we might possess. It is how much and how you have lived, how strongly you have loved, hugged, forgiven, mistaken, fallen, and then went back on track. In other words how much you have done and given to the people around you and to this world. Are you really up to date on all of these? Are you at peace? If you were to die today, would you do it at ease?