COVID-19 Opinion

Why the COVID-19 pandemic provides a chance to improve ourselves

Reflections of a young Kuwaiti.

By Osama Al Nasser

The novel coronavirus has turned the world upside down. Countries are being locked down, travel is being suspended, places of worship are closing their doors to ensure worshippers’ safety, and much more. However, as critical as the situation is, we must, whenever possible, put the environment that this crisis has created to our advantage, and use it as an opportunity to become better people.

In the current context, no one has an excuse to neglect improving their skills and acquiring new hobbies, such as reading, exercising, learning a new language, or finally taking that go at deciphering a Rubik’s Cube. For those who reside with their families, they have the chance to stay in, spend time with them, and take care of them.

On my part, thanks to the novel coronavirus, I have had the time to learn things I had put off because of university stress and wonderful, but distracting daily meet-ups with friends and colleagues. I have recently begun learning how to cook basic meals, and I have started with cheese omelettes (a simple but good start). I have also had more time to spend on reading, and have been participating in the “We Read for Kuwait” online campaign, which encourages the Kuwaiti community to read during the quarantine for patriotic goals: to make citizens and residents alike even more educated in the context of school suspensions.

Thanks to COVID-19, I am also now more able to spend quality time with my family. In normal times, I had found it difficult to stay at home because I like going to my university, even on weekends, just so I can feel productive. But now I have a different perspective on spending time at home. I am able to help my parents out more, converse and catch up with my siblings, and even play chess with my family — something we love to do.

In addition, difficult times reveal to us the true nature of many people around the globe. Even though the world is trying to prevent the disease from spreading, many individuals are not helping with these efforts. There are those who break the curfew or lockdown orders, and others who do not follow health instructions. Then there are those who have been discriminatory against those originating from countries with a high number of COVID-19 cases, adding more to this global ordeal. This is has shown us, time and again, that we are only as strong as our weakest links, and this has necessitated more strict measures to be implemented by states. It has also shown us that there is still a lot of room for improvement for us as a human race.

Various people have been saying that they think that this virus is a sign of God’s wrath because many people commit sins, so God punishes them as a lesson for everyone who might think that they can do whatever they want. I do not know who we are to assume God’s intentions. I, for one, choose to look at the bright side of things; to see this crisis, in some ways at least, as a blessing. This is because without it I would not have been able to see things as clearly as I see them now. The crisis proves the theory of humans only knowing the value of things after losing them. I now value many things because I lost so many privileges during this outbreak, like many of us have, and I now make the most of what I have in my hands because I have it.

The novel coronavirus crisis gives us the opportunity to improve ourselves in more ways than one, and it is up to us to choose whether or not we take up that opportunity. Instead of seeing it as just a disaster, we should see it as a wakeup call telling us that we need to revise our lifestyles and choices, and think about how they serve or damage us, and the society around us.

The views of the authors and writers who contribute to Sekka, and the views of the interviewees who are featured in Sekka, do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sekka, its parent company, its owners, employees and affiliates.

Osama Al Nasser is a 19-year-old Kuwaiti student.