By Assunta Ng
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
Did you know that March 2022 was a milestone for us Washingtonians? If you are reading this, you might recall that you have escaped the most horrific pandemic that killed 12,497 Washingtonians, more than 790,00 people in the U.S., and over 6 million people globally.
Congratulations, you are alive.
If you had Covid-19 and recovered, you are among the 1.45 million out of 7.76 million Washingtonians who got infected. That means one in five people in our state tested positive. The Washington Post reported 52% of Americans got Covid.
That’s even more reason to celebrate and feel fortunate. We empathize with the struggles and adversities you have been going through. You have probably survived one of the worst nightmares of your life. Please don’t take this lightly. Beating Covid is monumental.
March 2020 was the most challenging and uncertain time in the 21st century. A pandemic struck—Gov. Jay Inslee ordered a shelter-in-place on March 23, 2020—the world halted, people died, lives shattered, jobs lost, and businesses closed…And you survived!
Two years later, March 2022, what a contrast! A new world has reopened—Covid-19 deaths and cases are down, vaccines abundant, mask mandates lifted, schools opened, airlines and hotels full, concerts and shows rolling out, and restaurants bustling…
You and I have experienced misery, anguish, and wretchedness for the past two years. You may not feel like celebrating, but you should. Life is short, fragile, and precious. You have only one life to live. Please don’t take your life for granted. And please don’t take for granted those who saved you. If not for our frontline workers—nurses, doctors, and medical workers—the number of deaths and tragedies could be much higher.
What we have done is major and wonderful, we fought insanity to stay strong and Covid negative during this terrible ordeal. We have survived and grown our resilience and patience for months of isolation. We hated many of the health guidelines such as masking and social distancing, but we followed them. The number of sacrifices was way too many to count or remember. But we pulled through. The number of painful changes that you and I have implemented in our daily lives over 700-plus days, may be unbearable. Amazingly, I have saved quite a few of those habits as they have transformed my life.
Celebrate that your loved ones are still with you and you get reunited with them. Instead of being confined at home, we can walk out of our home freely now.
Celebrate that we have control over Covid because of the vaccines.
At the beginning of Covid, few assumed that it would last more than two years. But we have tackled it, and are not so afraid anymore. We are not being locked down, and we can go about living our lives as normally as possible. My prayers are finally answered, and hope is coming. In my gut, I feel, “The worst might be over, we are almost there.”
As if the pandemic is not complicated and heavy enough, we lived through an unusual but exciting election in 2020, and endured an insurrection in 2021 even though insurrectionists wanted to overturn the election. Let’s celebrate that.
Just as we thought we may be back to normal in 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, and President Joe Biden’s leadership in uniting 27 European countries to sanction Russia and support Ukraine is no small feat. I celebrate America’s strength to isolate Russia, an evil empire; and our humanity and solidarity to support the Ukrainians by sending them money, food, medical supplies, and military equipment, in addition to our talents and advice. While it is unbearable for us to witness Russia’s destruction of lives and cities in Ukraine, I am grateful that Biden insisted he won’t be sending troops there. War should never be a part of the plan. We are blessed that our land is protected.
No one knew that the last 24 months would be extraordinary, unpredictable, and heart-wrenching, especially the tremendous loss of human lives. Everyone has a Covid story to share. Mine may be different and not so different. But one lesson I have learned is, I will never be the same person after the pandemic. What was important then, is not so important anymore. What used to be beautiful, now it is not. What used to make me happy, has no effect on me. The Covid journey has been profound. We never know if today is our last day. So don’t waste time on small stuff. Wake up every morning with love, joy, gratitude, and laughter every day.
I am aware of those qualities before Covid. The only difference is, I truly embrace these gifts of life by practicing them constantly.
Assunta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.