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High Hopes

2020 started on a great note for me. Hopes were high. It was time to achieve the Vision-2020 as we had conceived it since we were kids. Little did we know what is to come and then, days into February, news of a ravaging virus began to trend.

When the outbreak started in 2019, I knew it was a matter of time before it came into Nigeria. It was a scary thought but it was realistic. As a pharmacist, I knew that unlike the developed countries like the United States, we do not have the necessary health infrastructure to combat this virus. So it felt like an impending doom waiting to happen. 

In the typical Nigerian reaction to impending danger, we tried to pray it away and wish it away because we think we are God’s favorite people. Unfortunately, God has no favorites. We left our doors open and the virus finally got to us. Although the virus itself might not have taken so many lives, the spiral effect of the lockdown on the economy was bad for us. 

My premonitions and speculations did not prepare me for the experience that followed. The fear, the confusion, and the uncertainties. It felt like the end of the world. Words like ‘Shutdown’, ‘Work from home’, ‘new normal’ became the buzzword all over.

One of the greatest lessons I learned during this period is there is no new thing under the sun. Whatever was happening to us had happened to people years before.   History is a map filled with events, we go to it to learn about past mistakes, and then we go to it to find a path that leads to a better future.  There are patterns everywhere, we just have to look closely, pay some more attention and COVID-19 or Coronavirus pandemic was another play out of the 1918 influenza virus. Only this time, the world is more advanced with regard to science and technology, which to me was a great advantage. I spent time researching, reading journals, and articles. I learned to listen to unsaid words and interpret data correctly beyond what mainstream media wanted us to believe.

Also, the shutdown as a result of the pandemic helped me reflect on the things that are most important in life — People (family, friends). I think most of us realized that we need each other to survive. We found solace in people who love us and whom we loved in return. 

2020 also reminds me of how fallible humans and human systems are. Even the so-called best systems can crumble when the storm comes.  There is really no perfect system or governance anywhere even though some are more advanced than others. We also witnessed massive ignorance of some leaders (religious and political). I was reminded that the leaders we hold in high esteem are just men too subject to flaws and errors. 

I learned that there are things outside our control and there is really nothing we can do about them.

I think the pandemic and all that happened created a chain of events that led to the protests against police brutality in Nigeria and the United States. We had time to reflect on our journey as a nation and we realized that we were doing poorly. The protest was needed for a rebirth, especially for the millennials and Gen Z who had been born into a failing country. I never would have thought that I would take part in a national protest prior to this time. But I did. I learned the power of oneness of mind, spirit, and voice.

Finally, I think 2020 is just like every other year. Full of evils, darkness, and bad occurrences, only this time it affected everyone on a large scale.

The bottom line is this: learn to love wholly, give more, and live fully. Do not wait till a pandemic forces you to take periodic reflections on the things that matter to you. Always take a break in between all of your journeys in this fast-paced world and re-evaluate the things that matter to you. 

Some things are out of your control, do not fight them. Do not pressure yourself unnecessarily. Being alive is one thing to be grateful for.

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