My experience with Covid-19 stretched back from the end of January, when I visited Berlin for a company meeting. I remember I had a conversation with a colleague who were coming from China to get to know how was the situation there. At that time, I thought, Corona is only exist in China. I even made a joke about it on Twitter. Gee, that was very stupid of me.
And then life goes on and I have to go on another business trip. This time is to Toronto in the end of February. It was the time when mask and hand sanitizer were luxurious items. And I couldn’t help but to be panicked this time. The fact that I would have a layover in Hong Kong terrify me even more. It was just natural that I even think about to cancel the trip. But then I proceed.
I was extremely careful on that trip, though. The fact that the plane to Hong Kong was half-empty (even half is a generous word of choice) feels more like a sign that this shit was real. When I arrived at Hong Kong and saw that the airport was also almost empty, it terrifies me even more. I even avoid eating anything during the layover in Hong Kong, eventhough I was starving at that time. I stayed close to the toilet in the gate and washed my hands more than ever.
But then coming home from that trip alive and healthy, I feel that I just passed a test. Which is a completely stupid feeling now that I think about it. I remember I even think about to attend a concert in Singapore on the first week of March. Thank goodness the concert was postponed. That would be so dumb if I really come.
But that was not the pinnacle of Covid-19 stress that I’ve experienced. By mid-March, when I was in Jakarta, I received a news that my nephew who stay in my hometown was hospitalized for blood infection. I was frustrated by the fact that I couldn’t visit him. Around the same time, I heard from a friend of mine who was also hospitalized because he was suspected of Covid-19. At this point, I was sickened by the pandemic. But, rather than fear, what I feel at that time was more like anger.
I detest the virus. But with time, I realized that it’s probably not the wisest reaction to this situation. We’re not going to stop the pandemic by hating the virus. The virus itself is neutral. It’s probably doesn’t even realize what harm it causes us.
My fear from that trip to Toronto has proven to be effective for me (please, underline the “for me” part). Although, the problem with that was that I feel too much pressure. And that exactly what turn me into a “takabur” person (now it’s your turn to Google it down, English speaking reader), which it shouldn’t have to. When the fear is too high, we expect too much satisfaction from the payoff.
The fact is, we just need a little bit of fear to prevent us from doing stupid things. In this situation, fear is much needed to remind us to be cautious. Sure, it wouldn’t guarantee 100% that it could prevent us from getting the virus. But at least, when we have fear, it means that we acknowledge that we have a fair amount of share to do something that wouldn’t cause more trouble.
Now after a few months have passed, I thought that I’ve got a grip of the situation. I think that I’ve maintained a healthy dose of fear, just enough to remind me to be cautious. I even had fun during isolation. However, something else happened to me lately. I started dreaming about travelling and having party which is insane because I’m not even a party person.
I know exactly the moment I dream about something, that thing is seriously getting into my mind. So yeah, just when I feel like I get used to the situation, the fear in me is changing its shape.
I don’t know, though. Maybe I’m just too invested on work lately that I forget to take care of my own sanity. I know I don’t deserve to complain about the situation. I just think that I’m not the only person to feel this and I hope I could lessen my burden by sharing it.
I do think that acknowledging our fear is a way to accept and make peace with it. This pandemic is a collective concern which means that our burden might be felt by a lot of other people out there.
For now, I’m just trying believe that this too shall pass someday.