The Present Is The Beginning

February 12th, 2021


50 days until deadline

I had a hotpot dinner at my friend’s place yesterday to celebrate the Lunar New Year. During which my friend’s German boyfriend said, “I can’t imagine how you did it alone.” And I said, “I can’t imagine how you guys managed to live together during a pandemic without killing each other.” For him, going through the lockdown alone is unimaginable. But for me, being alone is the only reality I am willing to accept.

If you are single, it is fair to characterize what we are going through as a “loneliness pandemic”, though it has been going on for a while long before the COVID-19 pandemic started. At least before the outbreak, we had the comfort of knowing that if only we are more extroverted and go to more places to meet new people, we would, in no time, end our singleness. All that matters is a will to change.

Perhaps the hardest part of the lockdown is that this comfort of possibility is being taken away. Of course you could use virtual methods to meet new people, but for introverts that is nothing short of being appalling. We would have to invite a stranger into our home, albeit through a screen. The personal space we hold dear would nevertheless no longer remain private. Now we use our home for everything, eating, watching, working, sleeping, worrying. The lines are becoming more and more blurry. When you introduce the anxiety of meeting strangers into the mix, will we ever feel at home with our home?

In other news, Germany has decided to extend the lockdown to March 7th, on my birthday. Somehow my storytelling brain sees it as an eerily appropriate date to mark the end of my 25 years on Earth. I have been given multiple chances to start again. The New Year, the Lunar New Year, now my birthday. But if you really want to change, you can start right here and right now.

A wise man was asked what was the most important time, person, and thing in life. He answered, “The most important time is the present time, because at this time a person has power over himself. The most important person is the one with whom you deal at present, because there is no guarantee that you will ever be able to deal with any other person in this world. The most important thing is to love this person, because everyone is sent into this world with the sole purpose of loving other people.”

– Leo Tolstoy

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