During these times of uncertainty and anxiety, where we are forced to stay in and social distance ourselves, I’ve learned the value of self-reflection, living in the present and embracing the stillness. As dental students, our minds are always racing and preparing for the next big exam, practical or clinic. We seldom have a chance to soak it all in and reflect.
We are now granted time — something we often crave. However, for many, this stillness often brings uneasiness, anxiety and a lost sense of purpose. We have allowed this perpetual grind to define us: our goals, happiness and our purpose. We now find ourselves in a unique situation where we can embrace the stillness, invest in ourselves, be present, redefine our goals and have the clarity of mind to appreciate all that is around us.
As a society, we have greatly diverged from finding happiness in the truest and most natural aspects of life, such as nature, creative pursuits and interpersonal relationships. While social distancing, some of us now have the opportunity to feel more connected and united than ever with the greater availability of time to spend on these facets of life that are commonly taken for granted. Let this time be the catalyst to spread love, kindness and compassion.
In lieu of major problems, we find ourselves overly frustrated with small inconveniences and problems that life tends to throw our way. A situation like we are in now, as well as other major global historical events, force us to take inventory on who and what is truly important. Currently, there are many suffering and fighting different battles: losing a loved one, loss of a job, making the next payment on their home, or even when and how they will get the funds to make the next meal for their families. The next time we find ourselves frustrated about the Wi-Fi going out or a sporting event being canceled, we should learn from this period to reflect on what is truly important. There are always silver linings if your lens is calibrated to find one, and this event should serve to keep the small issues small and allow us a better appreciation of all that we have.
Don’t let this time get away without learning one of its greatest lessons. Be present, go on a long walk, enjoy nature, cook a new recipe, read that book, meditate and reach out to loved ones. Let us use this troubled time around the world to come together in solidarity and spread positivity through the respect and reverence for others’ unsaid struggles. My hope is once we find ourselves back in a more normal rhythm of life, we do not forget what these trying times have taught and what was gained from ourselves and each other. Have an open heart and mind, and spread love and compassion to those around you. With a positive, caring and unified mentality, we can achieve extraordinary feats together.
~Faith Botana, Georgia ’22