One difficult aspect of the pandemic and all of the necessary restrictions that have been put in place is the feeling that our time is being wasted. Young people, and likely the elderly, too, especially worry about this. Some might say, “I don’t want to waste my 20s staying indoors,” or “My teen years were supposed to be the best years of my life. Then this happened.”
I understand these sentiments. It feels horrible, as if life has been paused. But for those with serious health problems, the fear can be heightened.
Receiving a life-limiting diagnosis forces a person to think more carefully about how time is spent and how life goals are made. For most, these don’t involve being cooped up inside or isolated from friends.
When living with an illness such as pulmonary hypertension, we don’t know what the future holds. I am lucky to be relatively well right now. I don’t need oxygen or IV meds, and I’m still active and can keep up with my friends and live a “normal” life. But these years of feeling well are numbered, so all I want to do is get out there, travel, and experience life to the fullest. But I can’t right now.
The irony is that although my illness means I’m more desperate to make time count, I’m also at an increased risk of complications or serious illness from the virus. I have to be careful.
But if I can’t travel or go on adventures with friends, how do I make this time count?
I recently moved into my own flat in London, and was enjoying city life, my independence, and the ability to see friends. But as COVID-19 cases started to surge again and all of this came to a halt, I decided to move back in with my family for a while.
Moving back home can feel like regression or even failure, but I have tried to see it as an opportunity. Without the pandemic, I probably wouldn’t have this uninterrupted time with my family, with all of us in one place.
I may not tick anything off a bucket list in the next few months, but I gave up on that idea a long time ago. I have learned that it’s the little things, such as laughing with my brother or participating in family game nights, that make my life meaningful. Besides, every time I make plans, life has a habit of throwing curveballs at me. So, I prefer to go with the flow, seize opportunities, and say yes when I can.
I can still make some great memories during this strange time if I consciously make an effort. I have restarted my gratitude journal that I began earlier in lockdown. This not only forces me to reflect on the positives, but also to shift my mindset so that I can create little moments throughout the day that I know I’ll be grateful for later.
What moments have you been grateful for during these difficult times? Please share in the comments below.
Note: Pulmonary Hypertension News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Hypertension News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary hypertension.
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