Image created by Daniel Barreto
By Alyssa Ultreras
Late in March, COVID-19 abruptly stopped everyone’s schedules, plans, and events across the nation. The global pandemic put families through struggles regarding finance, access, and opportunity. Through this pandemic, the media has also shed light on the disproportionate hardships faced by people of color.
Yet despite all the turmoil people have faced during this time, many have been inspired. Some have started a small business, become more educated, become advocates, or taken other action to help people in their communities.
Living through this time, and witnessing all the tragedy as well as the glory that has risen through it, I have been inspired to reevaluate the way I spend my time.
Before quarantine, I worked non-stop with my school schedule, extracurriculars, jobs, and household responsibilities. I was exhausted, unable to realize that I was devoting time to people and commitments that did not make me happy anymore. I was a lit flame burning myself to ashes, taking on too much out of a feeling of obligation that’s common among high school juniors.
Now when I look back on those pre-pandemic times, I know why I thought this way. Like a college freshman, a person transitioning to find a job, or a person seeking a higher position in their field, I was suffering from a lack of balance.
As I was burning out at the end of the first semester, I watched a Ted Talk by Shonda Rhimes. She explained how she felt burned out because massive production and success led to a loss of family time. I could only relate from afar because I did not have a daughter as she does. However, I do have a family. I do have a younger sibling who looked up to me as an older sister, only to see me come home after a long day too tired to play with her.
As Rhimes says, “Work doesn’t work without play.”
Rhimes argues for spending more time with who or what brings balance to work. And so, once quarantine came and my entire life was put on pause, I had time to reconnect with myself and find the balance to my work.
It took a global pandemic to allow the world around me to stop and give me a chance to realize this. As young advocates are helping to change the world, seizing the moment and rising in this dark time, we all must strive to find the balance between work and play if we want to persevere during this pandemic and come out the other side stronger.