When we look back on perspective, the COVID-19 isolation was a time to slow down and stop. I was laid off from my part-time job. Finding my internship to graduate became nearly impossible. The expiration dates of my visa and study permit were fast approaching. I didn’t know what to do. I felt like I was failing.
We battle so much with our emotions that we mistakenly think that asking for help and showing vulnerability is weakness. So, what do we do? We start building walls. We stay in and hide ourselves under the water. No big deal, right? We are ultimately protecting ourselves. But guess what?
People drown in waters like these.
Let me give you an example. Sometimes, when we see a picture of someone on social media living their best, lavishing, successful life, we can’t help but compare. And it goes without saying this process generally does not lead to a positive place in our mind. In a world full of vanity, authenticity and vulnerability are the exception. And yes folks, this *does* take a toll on our mental health whether we want to accept it or not.
We complain so much about being in isolation, yet we’re all used to living our lives in such tiny little bubbles that we like to call comfort zones. But we are trapped in them. And let me tell you something:
That’s the worst kind of isolation we could live in.
Despite all the negative consequences brought on by COVID-19, here comes the silver lining (or shall I say, MY silver lining): it has pushed a massive course correction on how we’ve been living our lives: work, family, relationships, ambitions. It has made a lot of us take a step back, think, self-reflect and make the necessary tweaks to move forward. On the business side of things, we call this a “SWOT” analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats).
So, why not do this for our personal lives?
I, myself, KHALED TORRES, needed to be more responsible for my actions. I was letting time “do its trick” without putting a consistent effort on the direction I wanted to pivot. So, what did I do? Well, for starters, I designed my own home office. Made it look so nice and cozy with my baby plants (not so babies anymore they’re huge!) that it would give me that extra motivation to sit at my desk and be productive.
Did it work?
I swear, I would spend so many hours there reading blogs, journals, researching and networking on LinkedIn like CRAZY that I just took the whole home office experience to a new level. I reinvented myself. Actually no, I rediscovered myself. I had that enlightenment moment where everything in my life 👏🏾just👏🏾started👏🏾making👏🏾sense👏🏾. That was the moment to turn my “hobby” into my career. Hey, I got the skills! I sat there, 28 years, asking myself why it did take me so long to figure it out! Dammit!
To neglect our responsibility to be honest with ourselves is to live in a bubble.
I WAS living in a pretentious bubble. I was afraid of showing myself vulnerable to the world. So, the key takeaway of this story (feel free to take it if it applies) is to stop f***ing fitting in if it hurts! Time is the greatest resource that we cannot get back when wasted, make the most of it while you have it!
Burst your bubble. This is it.
P.S.: Yes! I did find my internship, and in the field I’m passionate about. I’m almost done with it and I will be graduating soon! Gosh, if only I’d known earlier!
I wrote this for AVENIDA magazine, a latin magazine in Toronto that gives visibility to latino immigrants like myself ✌🏾