Just life

By Dani Cropper/El Inde

I am a senior at the University of Arizona, now finishing the last 8 weeks of my college years entirely online. To be a little more specific, I am now finishing the last weeks of my senior year in quarantine.

I have been home for over a month now at my mom and step-dad’s house in Gold Canyon, Arizona. Now that I do not go to class anymore, I wake up each morning, usually way later than I should, sit outside with some coffee, do some homework, jump on Zoom every now and then, eat dinner and fall asleep anywhere from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. Then I wake up and do it all over again.

One thing I have been reminded of during all of this is how possible it is to experience a range of emotions all at once. When you try to document yourself during a pandemic, you are bound to capture more than one of them.

At about 4 a.m. on March 26, I found myself missing my grandma, who lives about ten minutes away from me. Throughout March, I kept my distance from her not only because of social distancing guidelines, but specifically because I was sick myself. Right before my symptoms hit hard, and right before the pandemic really blew up, my grandma came over for dinner one night. Earlier that day, my mom had said something like, “I don’t really think we should be hugging our grandparents.” My cold symptoms were so mild that I did not think I had anything at that point; so, I gave her a hug.

A couple days later, I felt a little feverish, I had a bad cough, I felt super congested, and I had a headache. I was home alone, because my mom and step-dad were still going to work at this time, and I just remember feeling so sick. I got so scared all of a sudden; I immediately started playing out the worst in my head. The reason I started freaking out a bit is because my mind immediately went back to hugging my grandma, probably two or three nights before that. 

That was one of the first days that this all started sinking in for me. As soon as my mind went to that place, I just felt anxious and scared and upset with myself. I am not sick anymore, and my grandma is okay, but there was another night in March when I could not sleep, and I found myself reflecting on everything again. 

My mom has talked about how even when we come out of this, there is probably going to be a new normal that is different from the one we had before. We keep saying if we just stay inside, if we quarantine long enough, if we social distance long enough, then we will go back to normal, everything will get better and we can return to normal life. The truth is, though, that it could be entirely different. It could be an entirely new normal. 

I think feelings of sadness and fear and anxiety are real and valid, especially during a time like this; but I also think it is important to give credit to the good times and the laughs and the little things that still make us happy, especially if we are lucky enough to still have those. Right now, I am thankful for my home and my family, I am thankful that they are safe and healthy. I am thankful for my dogs and funny movies. I am thankful for food to eat and weather that makes us want to be outside. I am thankful for UofA, and I am thankful for music. 

One song that I have been listening to over and over lately is called “Just Life,” by Jaguar Dreams. There is a lyric video for this song that just flashes all of these different images and clips of life, like sea turtles swimming in the ocean, marathon runners, people holding hands and dancing at concerts, little kids playing and a whale flying out of the water. I think I am so hooked on this song right now, because I just want us all to be able to get back to these moments, to holding hands, dancing, swimming in the ocean and just getting to be with each other.

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