Four Ways To Live A More Meaningful Life

Through a social-first style video the audience will learn ways Gen Z is finding themselves coming out of the pandemic.

By Karina More and Emma Bradbury

I’ve never been able to acknowledge myself changing as it’s happening, and quarantine was no different.

Now, about a year and a half after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I can barely remember the person I was at the start. Whether that’s due to my abysmal memory or my overall lack of self-awareness, I don’t know. Either way, being stuck inside with just our thoughts to keep us company had many of us thinking, whether we liked it or not.

As someone who really doesn’t like to talk about herself—especially when it comes to emotional stuff—, Karina and I wanted to speak to our friends and family about how this past year shaped their perspectives on both themselves and the world around them. Did living in isolation make them rethink their values or how they want to live their lives under “normal” circumstances? We found that across the board, living through this pandemic encouraged us to not only think about what we want but to act on it to ensure that it happens. After all, if we learned anything from the year 2020, it’s that life is precious, and we might as well take full advantage of it. So, without further ado, we present just four ways to prosper post-isolation, and hopefully, this will inspire you to come up with even more.

Face Your Fears

Pretty self-explanatory, we know, but facing your fears takes on a whole new meaning after a worldwide pandemic. I mean, who ever thought a hug hello would be so nerve-wracking? When asked what facing her fears means to her, Etta Harshaw immediately answers with, “Go to therapy, if you can.” She went on to explain how seeking help made her more comfortable with who she is—something that many of us might not be able to say. We lived through an—I have to say it, I’m sorry—unprecedented time of distress and sorrow, so there’s no time to stop and care about what other people think. Take risks, and face your fears.

Say Yes—But Only If You Want To

When Karina and I came up with this prompt, we were in the mindset that many Gen Zers and Millennials are after a prolonged period of limited social contact: never say no. To anything. Especially social plans. While we still believe that we should absolutely take advantage of our youth while we still can, our friends made some pretty strong points about moderation. Harshaw tells us that she’s learned a lot of value in learning to say no. Instead, she amends the phrase to, “Not never say no, but say yes to anything that’s worth it. Turn it into a positive, not a double negative.” Gianna Corvino agrees that even though we’ve had a long and socially stagnant year, anything in excess is not healthy. She acknowledges that we need balance in our lives, “Say no on your own terms, but at the same time, push yourself out of your comfort zone a little.”

Be Independent

If you’re anything like me, doing things by yourself used to be terrifying. Of course, we’ve had to become increasingly comfortable being by ourselves, and I’ve learned that I kind of love it. As we transition into “new normalcy” and our time inevitably begins to fill up again, it’s important to make time for ourselves. Charishma More tells us, “I used to need someone to go out with all the time, but now I realized I’m fine and honestly, fun by myself. And I like to get dressed up when I go out. I don’t get dressed for other people. I do it for me.” We know it can be scary to do things alone—trust us—but there’s no better feeling in the world than knowing you can rely on yourself. After all, if we’re comfortable by ourselves, we can be comfortable doing just about anything.

Take Action

Lastly, and most importantly, the pandemic has demonstrated inequities that many of us already knew about or lived through but were largely ignored by society. It’s a shame that it took a global pandemic to have a worldwide reckoning about the rampant discrimination that exists in our country, but it seems to have been the catalyst we needed to start to actively address these issues. Now that things have begun to transition back to “normal,” many of us have seen that justice and action are no longer at the forefront of many people’s minds. For those of us who have the privilege to step away from these fights for social justice, we implore you to—that’s right—take action. Continue to educate yourself on issues that you are passionate about and can have a direct hand in solving. Let others know when they’ve made a mistake. Train to be a poll worker or volunteer for a campaign whose policies you believe will make a positive difference. Choosing to take direct action ensures that we will leave our world better than how we found it and allows us to understand just how much of a difference we are capable of making.

As human beings, we reflect on the choices we make, the changes we see within ourselves, and how we hope to shape our futures. As the pandemic begins to wane, many of us are at risk of slipping back into old, pre-pandemic habits—habits we told ourselves we’d break. Now that we have more of an opportunity to make mistakes, we also have a responsibility to consider our values and act with them in mind. Confront your fears. Say yes—within reason. Relish your independence, and stand behind your beliefs. Take the lessons you learned this year with you, and make your future self proud.

Don’t wait, you can take action right now:

https://www.betterhelp.com

https://www.eac.gov/voters/become-poll-worker

https://www.centerforcommonground.org/campaigns