Reflecting on life. Life has been hard.

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Reflecting on life. Life has been hard.

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It was August 25th, 2019.
I had finally reached my parents’ house, all of our belongings* (all that could fit in one car*) in tow, back in my home state of New York. I didn’t want to be here – I grew up in NY, and until two years ago, never intended on coming back. I like to call it the “tectonic plates of life” moving, that moment when you feel something big on the horizon and suddenly, oh hey, here’s a big life decision you didn’t plan on having to make, have fun!
Circumstances change, yeah. Life is a pretty unpredictable time warp, and global warming is such a serious issue; it was already sorta tough to not focus on the negatives before 2020. Relationship issues, financial issues, family issues – so many volumes of problems. I already felt like I had lost everything, pride included. Nothing could have prepared me for the pure stress that inevitably comes from a worldwide pandemic.
Moving back into my parents’ house as a single parent in her 30’s was just about the biggest pill I could swallow that autumn. Since I had decided to work at Starbucks again, I finally made up my mind to go to college for the first time. In February, I enrolled in summer classes to start at ASU. I was hearing something about a coronavirus, but I wasn’t paying much attention to the news with taking placement tests for college in between working. In March, my daughter’s school closed, and so did Starbucks.
It’s hard. It’s hard to not focus on the bad, and it’s so odd to think fondly of the not-so-bad before it. Life just feels a little bit harder. A lot bit, with the increasing violence, hatred and misinformation being spread on a daily basis. Everyone’s experiencing repercussions in one way or another; but something I cannot deny – the something I’m most grateful for: how much I’ve grown, emotionally and mentally. Maybe I can’t credit the stress from the pandemic completely, but it has certainly put all of my other stress in a different perspective. It turned my attention to world issues – I stopped being so wrapped up with myself and my own country, started learning about other cultures after starting college – falling so deeply for that education that I decided to major in Anthropology, with a Minor in Religious Studies. I watched a Ted Talk once that described the good effects of stress.. I feel as if I’m a better human, or at least, a more knowledgeable one.
A lot has changed in the past two years. I started college, moved into my own place, moved back into parents’ (hi, tectonic plates!), went from being faithfully Christian to super agnostic/atheist (that was mentally difficult and I’m still processing it) and although I am quite bitter with life in general, I’m also much happier with it, and with myself. I'm a better mom for it. Life has felt like a constant challenge for years now, but I appreciate how easy it is to appreciate the simple things. I may find it annoying that everyone is more on edge, but honestly, who can blame them? Good on everyone for putting up with life! All we can do is learn and grow. And treat the planet well, guys. Let’s do that, too.

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This item was submitted on October 6, 2021 by Samantha Baker using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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