5 things Covid-19 has taught me about life – Bisi Adjapon

This pandemic has taught me so much about the things that matter most in life. Here are five of those:

1.Living in the richest country in the world is not necessarily the wisest thing to do. A rich, purely capitalistic country can produce some of the most desperate people in the world. Before I made the decision to move to Ghana in 2017, I had led a fairly comfortable life in America. I’d been an International Affairs Specialist and teacher, among other things. As a member of the middle-class dependent on a steady income, I came to realize that any interruption to that income flow was brutal. Also, my access to quality healthcare was tied to my job. In Ghana, I don’t have a mortgage but I have access to healthcare, etc. If I were in America, I would be panicking about losing my job and paying the mortgage.

2.It’s important to be a good neighbor, even to the squatters and poor near you. Because of my relationships with my neighbors, it’s been easy for me to walk across and ask for things I can’t go out and buy, something as basic as a cutlass. I don’t feel limited to family who live with me. I can talk across the wall, tell my neighbor’s dog to be quiet. I can give clothes to the seamstress across the street to fix, so that she can have some income. She has no other client and is stuck at home. I get to wave at her kids and banter with them.

3.I’m enough and I am even stronger than I knew I was. When the lockdown was announced, a feeling of dread seized me by the throat. I couldn’t breathe. I drove down Lagos Avenue as if to say goodbye. Since staying at home, I’ve discovered I don’t need to rush around the way I’ve always done. I don’t have to play tennis everyday to exercise. I’ve realized that it’s a matter of will power and discipline. I reject fear. I dance to YouTube videos every day. When I dance, I lose myself and feel euphoric. We create our own happiness

4.I don’t need much money to live or so many clothes, so many shoes. I can do more for others.

5.Most of all, Covid 19 has taught me about the transience of life and the importance of nurturing relationships. I’ve little patience for grudge bearers and fights. Peace is a wonderful thing. Also, distance means nothing when you have the internet and the will to connect. My writer friends and I have organized a virtual book festival, and every Friday, we get together for virtual parties full of wine and laughter. I’m devastated by the loss of life, the stress on our healthcare workers and, for many, loss of income. As I send out positive thoughts to all, I hold on to what matters most to me: my relationships with my family, friends and community.

(Bisi Adjapon is the author of the Ghana-Naija coming of age novel – Of Women and Frogs)

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