In the last year, we all went through jarring experiences. However, as the vaccine distribution increases and the world starts the road to recovery, we can see a ray of hope on the horizon. Through the isolation we tried to find excitement. Through the uneasiness we tried to find comfort. Through the anguished misery we tried to find hope.
Due to the hardships we had to face last year, many of us may have forgotten that every dark cloud has a silver lining. With a little bit of thought, we can see that there were a number of good things we were able to learn during this dark, deadly pandemic. These are the four lessons I want to continue to implement going forward:
The Importance of Saving Money
According to the Economic Policy Institute, 25.7 million people have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it is people becoming officially unemployed, getting laid off, or having to deal with pay cuts, millions of people have suffered due to the pandemic. It is precisely for this reason that people should have savings. Without enough savings, breadwinners are not able to provide food for their families, pay for their loans, or carry out any of their other responsibilities. As teenagers, it is essential that we understand the value of money. Soon, us teenagers will become responsible for our families and, god forbid, should such a situation arise again in our lives it would be essential for us to have savings to prevent any financial issues. A way to initiate the process of having savings is to use the four jar method. In this method, there would be four theoretical jars: (1) day-to-day expenses, (2) entertainment, (3) donations, and (4) future savings. Using this method can be very useful, especially when we are just beginning to earn money and learning about budgeting. By having a “jar” for savings, we can prevent unexpected pitfalls and live life with peace and tranquility.
Nothing Is More Precious Than Our Health
Amidst the pandemic, we have definitely learned one thing: Staying healthy is the top priority. According to the CDC, people with underlying health conditions are more vulnerable to COVID-19. However, if everyone tried to find at least 30 minutes in their schedule everyday to exercise and maintained a healthy lifestyle, they would be able to avoid a myriad of health issues including heart disease, diabetes, various types of cancers, and depression. Besides exercising, it is also essential to eat healthy food. Approximately, one-third of U.S. adults consume fast food on a given day. This staggering data is unfortunately one of the key reasons for why this pandemic has impacted the United States in such a disproportionate manner. In the sedentary lifestyle that many Americans have grown accustomed to, it is oftentimes quite difficult to find time to work out and burn all of the calories gained from eating fast food. However, it is not just about how many calories of food you consume. It is also about if the calories consist of healthy or unhealthy food. McDonald’s Big Mac, for instance, contains a hefty (and unhealthy) 550 calories. According to MedicalNewsToday, many people believe that it can take 3 days for a Big Mac to get digested. On top of that, a Big Mac has the potential to cause spikes in insulin and result in you wanting to eat even more food, even if you aren’t hungry! As such, even after the pandemic ends, it is important for us Americans to take control of our health by exercising more and decreasing consumption of unhealthy food.
Self-Sufficiency Is Key
In April 2020, I read an article about the shortages of disinfectant wipes. The article mentioned that it would become difficult to find disinfectant wipes since some of the chemicals that the wipes contained came from China. Staying dependent on other nations for such resources during a global crisis can be harmful for both the general public and the economy. Instead, a nation should be independent and it should be able to produce its own goods. If we take a look at products such as cheese, we can see that it is much more readily available for consumers since so much of it is manufactured domestically. Just a few weeks ago, President Biden also signed the “Buy American” executive order. This executive order seeks to increase domestic manufacturing. As the years go by, the need for this change is progressively becoming evident and it will surely be beneficial for the United States in the coming years.
Life Is Unexpected
In the fast-paced lifestyle of the 21st century, it is difficult to step back and take time for ourselves. We are so invested in personal success (whether it is academics or career-oriented), that we forget to relax and enjoy life. When this pandemic began, I realized what a terrible mistake I had made by constantly putting all my wishes and dreams on the back-burner. Life is unexpected, and you never know what the future holds for you. In this aspect, the pandemic has worked as a sort of a wake-up call for me. Although it is important to focus and do well in school and your career, it is also important to enjoy the little things in life. Spend time with your friends, spend time with your family, and do things that you enjoy. Life is too short to risk saving these precious moments for later. As a wise person had once said, “life is a game, play it; life is a challenge, meet it; Life is an opportunity, capture it”.