By Jessie Jin
The Continental Army faced one of the hardest winters at Valley Forge in 1776. Supplies were depleted, soldiers were starving, the weather was bitter cold, and enlistment time was almost over.
During these darkest days, the words of the American revolutionary Thomas Paine in The American Crisis comforted soldiers, boosted their morale, and convinced them to extend their enlistments:
“These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of men and women.”
As the American Revolution soldiers faced many hardships, we too face obstacles in our daily life, some more severe than others. This current unprecedented situation with the COVID-19 pandemic is a global crisis. People from all different backgrounds are negatively impacted by this health crisis. In fact, I am writing about the coronavirus right now because it has completely changed my life.
A month ago, some classmates lightheartedly remarked that they hoped school would close because of coronavirus. But soon, on Friday March 13th, 2020, the year 2020 would never be the same for us. School closed; so did practically everything else except grocery stores, banks, and hospitals. Now, school closure has extended until the end of the school year.
During this time, everyone’s lives have changed. No more weaving into school at 7:31 AM. No more ra-tat-ta of drums. No more laughter while playing ball. No more face-to-face interactions with friends. Instead, we are now stuck at home, where it seems that boredom could drive us insane.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can take charge of our own lives and make this abundant precious time count. As many people now are working from home, there is more family time. What a perfect time to strengthen familial bonds! Usually, our lives are so busy that we forget to or don’t have the time to spend with our loved ones.
Also, I earnestly believe that this great challenge we are facing is an opportunity to redeem the time. Time is ever fleeting. Now that the coronavirus has freed up so much of our time, we should use it meaningfully. From personal experience, I understand how difficult it can be to go between the extremes –almost non-existent free time to too much free time.
Thus, I believe that it is important to organize time –give it some structure though not too much or too little. We can write lists, mark our calendars, or write hourly schedules (much like school periods). These are only a few suggestions. Ultimately, organize your time in a way that best suits your needs. Whatever your method, you will find that when you organize your time, your days become meaningful. You are now motivated and will achieve greater things.
As Bill Bryson in his book A Short History of Nearly Everything puts it: “[e]ven a long human life adds up to only about 650,000 hours”. So, let us cherish each moment of our lives. When this time comes to pass, may we confidently say that we enjoyed our life and have no regrets.
Today, the coronavirus has devastated so many lives, claiming about 121,000 lives and infected about 1.9 million people thus far (actually underreported infections). Many are unemployed and everywhere people have quarantined themselves. Despite all, I am still hopeful.
In a famous Greek myth, evil things came out of Pandora’s box and cursed the world. But more importantly, hope was the last thing left behind. Let us hope for our families, our communities, our countries, and all the people of earth. We can overcome the coronavirus together. If everyone works together, we can slow down this pandemic.
Although we face a virulent enemy, Thomas Paine once remarked, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”
Once this virus is over, we will be stronger and more united families, communities, and global citizens. Before that though, we must take caution, practice social distancing, and enjoy the time and family we have. May we all unite and have faith to overcome this enemy.