This year has been one of the weirdest years of my life. And it's only April.
It began when I had my ID stolen and bank account drained back in February. It takes time and a LOT of phone calls to deal with ID theft, but eventually it was sorted out. Then, my friends at school and I heard about the encroaching Coronavirus. Schools were closing and students were returning home. My senior friends were unable to have a normal graduation. We packed up our belongings and said goodbye. One of my friends returned to Michigan, another to Alabama. The campus, day by day, became more deserted. The mood was quiet, I think, because no one really knew what to say. At this point, no one really knows if we'll be returning in the fall.
I had a restless night before my move back to San Jose. Being a silly and anxious person, I stayed wide awake worrying about the trip. I'd made the eleven hour drive from Phoenix to San Jose several times before, but this time felt different. In my ignorance of exact pandemic measures being taken, I imagined being stopped at the California border and unable to cross. I kept telling myself, when I get to San Jose, beautiful green San Jose, I'll be safe. My paranoid mind wondered if my parents were infected, or if I might be bringing the virus to them. At last, the night was over. The campus in my rear view mirror was a ghost town.
I drove through the desert and crossed the border without issue. I laughed at myself for worrying about crossing, but only after the border station was behind me. I wound through the twisting green hills of LA, my heart feeling lighter and lighter as I got closer to home.
I was very close to home when I got hit. The highway was crowded and rain had made the street slippery. A car, entering the highway, spun out into my lane and we collided. The crunching sound of my car and my face covered in blood gave me such a fright that I couldn't stop crying, even after the ambulance arrived and I was whisked safely away to the hospital. In short, my tears were more from shock than any real injury - my body was completely fine, save for a swollen nose. My wonderful family and boyfriend picked me up and helped me salvage all my belongings from the totaled car. That little Nissan Versa was a loyal machine, and it was sad to say goodbye.
Immediately following my return home, I felt done with adventures for awhile. I was scared. Scared of driving, especially in the rain. Scared about the virus. Scared about security and money and the possibility that someone would use my ID to commit a crime. It felt like too much had happened in too little time. Being quarantined at home, safe from the outside world, felt like a blissful break. I was able to avoid driving and avoid my fears and sink into a mellow life.
But of course, life is always greener on the other side. Eventually, my safe, warm nest began to feel stifling. I'm restless when I haven't been outside for awhile. I look forward to grocery shopping, just to see other faces. Quarantine has made communication difficult. I miss my friends. I miss going to events.
Here is what I'm learning.
Life will always be stressful, in one way or another. Whether there's too much going on, or too little, I am never satisfied. It's not an event that causes my anxiety; it's existence in this world. If I am looking for a perfect, peaceful state of being, I will die searching. Hopefully this year's events will teach me to be a little bit more ready for life. When it's fast and scary, and when it's slow. Either way, I want to embrace life with joy and peace.
My boyfriend and I have been having our recent dates six feet apart, but before that started, we went on a drive along the California coast. I was struck by the incredible beauty of our world. The waves can be so dangerous and the sunset can be so incredibly orange. Our world is wild and dramatic and also incredibly still at times. And it's ok. Our lives are like that. We can't avoid these things, but we can choose to find beauty in the good things we have.
I have got to be one of the most spoiled and blessed people alive. I have a wonderful family who rushed to the hospital for me. I have a caring boyfriend who drives me up mountains to see sunsets. I have a bank account with enough money in it to be robbed. It hurt to leave school because my friends there are so sweet. I live in a country where brave medical workers are risking their lives to help those infected with this virus. Above all, I trust in a God who promises to never leave me.
As the year proceeds, I hope to live with more thankfulness, inside and outside the craziness.