What would you do if you woke up to a world without COVID-19?

What would you do if you woke up and there was no such thing as COVID-19?

Recently, I was asked this question and didn’t know how to respond. I stayed up all night staring at my ceiling thinking of the wildest things I could do.

Thoughts of gallant trips to Paris and New York with my friends and Boyfriend filled my head. Imagining what it would be like living out our summer days without a care in the world.

The truth of the matter is, the world doesn’t change overnight. Throughout history, humans as a species face a situation, react through the influences of society, and eventually adapt to what may be seen as the new ‘normal’.

I remember when the shadow of COVID-19 first overpowered the doubts of it ever affecting Canada. I was sitting in the middle of my Entrepreneurship lecture, counting down the hours until I could leave for the weekend. Going to school that day did not seem out of the ordinary for a bustling city like Toronto. Many of my friends were texting me before class asking if I was going still since a fake email was sent out the day before stating that someone on campus had Corona Virus. At that point in time, I thought taking those precautions were unnecessary, and didn’t bat an eye lash on missing a lecture and losing a participation mark over this.

As I entered the class, I started hearing my friends saying, “we are living through a moment in history right now”, and instantly my mood changed. I felt antsy, upset that Ryerson was still running classes, and right as I was about to pack up my bags and leave, my prof made an announcement.

“If you feel uncomfortable please go home. We understand what is going on right now and feel that it is best if you make your way off campus”

Before I knew it, waves of people began rushing to the door, leaving with a smile on their face. For many university students, being told to go home is NEVER a bad thing, but this time felt different. I got the reassurance I needed that this was a serious matter.

The walk to the bus stop felt painful. I walked through Nordstrom, down the escalators and out the front door of the Eaton Centre as I usually do. I blasted my music to drown out the lack of sound that was being produced throughout the mall. The silence was deafening enough.

On the streetcar ride home, I tried playing my “Business of Hype” podcast, but nothing worked. I looked around at the lack of people taking the streetcar, noticing details I brushed off my shoulder mere hours before.

In that moment I knew. Things were going to change for a while.

It’s funny how you don’t understand a situation to its full capacity until it happens to you. With the news of COVID-19 only seeming to stem in China, it felt so far away. So out of touch. I didn’t comprehend the fear surrounding the number of deaths until Trudeau began addressing it in his own Backyard. I look back at myself and wonder how I could be so nieve. So out of touch with the world. But that’s how these things work – you never feel it until it’s happening to you.

The memes surrounding the first few days of COVID made the virus seem as if it wasn’t existent. From every account saying “It’s Corona time” to making jokes about toilet paper runs, I laughed, shared them to my friends, but felt a lingering feeling of sadness over the lack of respect the internet was having over the matter. The truth is, I did not want more memes about face time sex in quarantine, I wanted my freedom back.

Throughout life, we take many things for granted. From every birthday card we throw out, to summer days spent with those you love. Over the past month, I’ve been thinking about what I miss most in this world, and I keep going back to the same routine.

I miss walking down the street without having people cross the other side. I miss taking the 501 every morning and smiling at whoever is across me, sparking an impromptu conversation about how slow the streetcar is taking that morning. I miss walking up Yonge street, avoiding running into businessmen, and grabbing a treat at Dineen just because I felt like it. I miss running into my friends on campus and grabbing an impromptu cup of coffee. I miss going to visit my boyfriend and telling him about the gossip I heard that day while watching The Real Bros of Simi Valley.

I miss the little things that seemed so routine.

No matter what the new normal is, I’ve learned to embrace the beauty that makes life so unique. In the big picture of things, expensive trips and nights out, that I probably should remember, don’t define you. It’s the little things that make living so worthwhile.

If I woke up tomorrow, and everything went back to normal, I’d make my coffee and smile. Crossing off another day on my calendar as I wait to see what unique joys a new day brings.

So I ask you this: if you woke up tomorrow and there was no such thing as COVID 19 what would you do?

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