Dear John | The Puzzles We Put Together
Dude, last year was impressive. From the deaths of Kobe and T’Challa, (I still cannot accept the fact that I’m saying that, so I won’t use his real name), to riots, police brutality, negligence toward Black and Brown people, more riots, to having a clown as a President, it was an emotional roller coaster I did not enjoy being on. We lost many people, opportunities and adventures due to an invisible virus that wiped more than 400,000 people out from our country alone in just nine months. I lost so many people who were dear to me, not only to death but also to us not connecting.
Being in isolation, away from friends and family, made me think about what genuinely makes me happy. When traveling, eating out, exploring was abruptly taken away from me, I had to zone in on what I like. Honestly, it made it easier to focus more on what I don’t like, mainly about myself and situations I’ve put myself in. Through this forced and unwelcomed time of reflection, I established things that, actually, make me happy.
I am now a professional puzzle putter together-er. I also learned I really disliked my work. I borderline hated it. Especially once I removed all of the fun stuff like travel, face-to-face interactions with students, ability to provide experiences for people who usually don’t have access to them. Striping my job down to the bare minimum made me recognize I would be miserable if the pandemic didn’t lift. It was easy say I would stay there because my work impacted so many Black students, but I had to realize those students graduate. They leave. They leave me there with the revolving mess I have to consistently “hide” not “fix” to make the space safe for them. I had to make some moves for myself.
During this pandemic, I quit my job, gave a one-and-a-half-week notice, moved more than 100 miles away. The pandemic forced people to lose jobs, income and opportunities. But here I am, happily relocated, working a new job, and choosing to be happy while the world is crumbling around me. It’s a privilege. Since my move, I have had the time of my life. Even though we are still in the pandemic, I feel a lot freer and less restricted than I did last year. So 2020, you ween’t all wrong. Thanks for providing me the time to stop, reflect, reevaluate and rearrange my life. I expect 2021 to be just as great.