Contemplating Life Moves During a Pandemic

by Samantha Bell

I once heard someone say that change is the only constant in life. Perhaps one of the most extraordinary parts of being human is having the power to reinvigorate the canvas. To paint beyond the past with new people, new challenges, new pain, new limits. That path is a choice, though. Change isn’t found in complacency, or in the echo of consistent, comfortable choices. Life-changing decisions are often tumultuous, startling, scary. I think I speak for everyone when I say that’s not something that 2020 needed more of.

My Thoughts On 2020

As much as our lives were tested, shaken up and put on pause, we’re still programmed to evolve. Much as we probably tried to push it down – to satiate it with long-loved comforts (like wine subscriptions and popcorn, maybe?), most of us still struggle with the voice in our heads asking us, what’s next? So, how on earth do you go about reconciling that somewhat pressuring question? And how do you make anything that resembles a life-changing choice during a global pandemic? 

Making Decisions

Transformative choices often come with a ton of deliberation. Pro/con lists, internal monologues, a handful of wine night epiphanies with friends  – you know, all the normal steps of decision-making. Much like everything else, 2020 pretty much shook that process to the core. Taking a relationship to the next level, buying a house, switching schools, changing jobs – all of these weighty choices were compounded with cinder block-like considerations. Lockdowns, fear, uncertainty, tragedy – turns out none of these things are fertile environments for major life choices. Who knew?!

Perhaps just as powerful as the ability to change our path in life is our power to persevere and adapt – to come together and (or stay apart in 2020’s case) for a greater good. I honestly consider this choice as it relates to the pandemic to be a major win. Especially when I think about us younger generations and our innate tendency to cling to instant gratification. Despite wanting desperately to go back to “normal,” to rubber-band back to a life where we could do anything we wanted in a matter of moments, most of us chose not to.

My Experience

Sometimes when the madness quiets, truths that were often drowned out by what is familiar become way too loud to ignore. For me, this manifested in the form of finally being ready to move out of my hometown. While I had thought about it for several months, something clicked when I was forced to put the mundane motions of my day-to-day life on hold.

I could see everything I put off, or brushed away with excuses sitting there. Where I was once finding butterflies, sweaty palms, excitement and beauty, I was now finding dexterity, familiarity, fatigue. I was bored. My aspirations and craving for something new had already taken a permanent form, far outpaced by my day-to-day choices. I just needed to sit in silence for a while to realize it.

Fortunately, I was able to start a new job remotely and move when the world returns to some semblance of normal. Yet I have to say, there are a lot of questions that come to mind, even when navigating the current condition of the world is an option.

“Am I making the right choice?” is a big one. One that I’ve had way too much time to think about. “Would I be making this choice if the world wasn’t on pause?” is another huge one. Our choices are fuelled by our experiences. It’s hard not to believe that everything might be different if this one thing (like not being in the middle of a pandemic) was different. 

Taking The Leap

I would argue, however, that as much as every little decision feels like it carries the weight of the world right now, the time we’re allotted to sit with our decisions is valuable.

When it comes taking a leap during the pandemic, I’d recommend revisiting your normal decision-making routine. Make that lengthy pro/con list or have a Zoom-based happy hour, call your best friend and hypothesize for hours on end. But also, try sitting with the silence for a while, too, if you can.

Above all, I think the best thing we can do right now is trust our instincts. As much as everything else might feel watered down, devastation-stricken, or changed – those can prove to be surprisingly resilient.

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