Five things Covid-19 Has Taught Me About Life – Chika Unigwe
In our new series in which writers and creatives of various stripes share with us their anxieties and fears regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, Chika Unigwe, PhD and award winning author says “be careful what you wish for”.
And it was told to the people, Covid-19 has come to teach (us) these things:
1 The fragility of
This pandemic is a
tragic reminder that the world/life is like an egg, Humpty Dumpty on a wall and
one push is all it needs for it to crack. We live with an awareness of
mortality and the fragility of life as we never had reason to in recent times.
Every email – even professional ones- begins or ends with ‘stay safe.’ There is
this sense that something major has shifted, that the ground underneath us
isn’t solid anymore.
2 The best laid plans
can fall apart, and you can do nothing about it.
I had trips and conferences planned well into October. Many-
even those happening later in the year- have been cancelled. I’ve learned not
to worry over the things that I cannot control, to take each day as it comes,
to be kind to my mental state. It’s a reminder that we, humans, are puny
creatures. There is something humbling in realizing that our sense of control
is illusionary, and it doesn’t matter what part of the world we are in, how
much fame and wealth we have, how well we eat. It’s a good lesson to learn, I
3 To take pleasure in
Walking the dog several times a day. Drinking loads of
coffee. A hot tub and the company of family. Finding toilet paper online. Comfortable
joggers and t-shirts. Netflix and Britbox. Working internet and zoom. Good
books and power. Chinchin and peanuts from Nigeria. It’s difficult to take
anything for granted at the moment. I hope that this joy in little things and
the sense of gratitude for them stays with me beyond the pandemic
4 That ‘Forwarded as
copied’ often accompanies the most ignorant posts/videos.
Fake news has always been a problem, but it seems to have
got out of hand with this pandemic. I can’t tell you how often I get really silly
‘forwarded as copied’ texts, urging one to ‘save a life by forwarding.’ Most shocking,
for me, is getting them from people from whom I expected better. People I
thought were educated enough, smart enough, wise enough not to fall for
anything. Perhaps, the lesson in this is that when people are
desperate/helpless, it’s easy for them to fall for anything. Perhaps, I do not
yet feel desperate enough and that’s why my level of discernment is still
normal, who knows?
5 Be careful what you
Frustrated with the state of things in Naija, I often wished something would happen to force Nigerian politicians to rely on our local healthcare facilities. Maybe I should have been more precise in speaking my wish into the universe. I should have wished for whatever it was to spare the poor, the innocent, the weak. To spare those who do not enjoy the benefit and privileges of the politicians.