The Valadez View

A chance to reflect


The day of the National Honor Society induction ceremony this year, April 11, a day that I was supposed to give a speech and get an in-person ceremony a year after the virus canceled the initial one, I woke up with symptoms of COVID-19.
And after doing everything right. After being the annoying person that makes everyone else put their masks over their nose. After only seeing the same two or three friends once in a while. After not hugging my grandparents for an entire year. I contracted COVID-19.
Luckily, there was a silver lining to it all. Despite the wide range of symptoms I experienced and the eight days of missed in-person school, I had a lot of time to reflect. Time to sit back, relax and be grateful for the fact that the world isn’t ending, even when it seems like it is.
When I first got sick, all of those doomsday thoughts were running through my head. Did I do something wrong? Who else did I infect before I knew I had it? Just how sick was I going to get?
Even though it felt like everything was crashing down, it wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong. I know that COVID-19 can be deadly. It has been, unfortunately, extremely deadly. And I am so glad that my case of the virus ended up being much less severe than others.
But because the virus also got to my sister, I was stuck at home with her for 10 days. Of course I felt and still feel terrible for giving it to her, but I had an extra 10 days with Lyndsay when she would usually be in Bloomington.
Our time together, despite being filled with illness, was so much fun. Most nights we watched TikTok for a while and proceeded to simultaneously talk about everything and nothing for at least an hour. I realized that our bond really does run deep, even if we act like we hate each other every five seconds. That’s the beauty of our relationship.
Coincidentally, as I was realizing that my life might not have been falling apart, the world around me kind of was. Police brutality and gun violence were in the news almost every day of my quarantine, and it was heartbreaking.
But, only being able to be with myself and my thoughts for the most time allowed me to give energy to those things that I care about.
I signed petitions. I read up on important issues. I talked my family member’s ears off about the things they should also care about. While it was sad to see these tragic events unfold, it felt good to know that I had time to do my part.
A time filled with symptoms and isolation quickly became a time filled with laughter and learning. Though my circumstances were not the best, I was able to make the best out of it.
And I think that’s what the pandemic has taught a lot of us. Or can teach a lot of us. When everything seems to be falling apart, it probably is not. And focusing on what we can do about it, rather than focusing on what is wrong with everything, is usually the most effective.