Coronavirus has changed life as we know it. Here, writer Megan Murray ruminates on what a global pandemic has made her realise about the way she’s been planning her goals.
Maybe it sounds cheesy, but working at Stylist was always my dream job. The magazine’s motto is ‘for women who want more from their world’, and as an 18-year-old journalism student who had just moved from Nottingham to London, I felt like I was holding the bible in my hands.
“That’s the kind of woman I want to be. I want more from my world,” I thought to myself. If you’re a Stylist fan, or just generally caught up in the millennial mentality of ‘be everything, do everything’, you might have at some point felt the same.
Like many of us, I had big plans for 2020. On New Year’s day I moved in with my boyfriend and out of London, which felt like an exciting start to a year that would involve exploring my new home near the sea.
After my dad hit his four-year sober milestone we planned to spend Christmas 2019 together for the first time. On Christmas Day he surprised me with plane tickets to New York for Easter weekend. Neither of us have ever been to America, and it was a long-held dream for him, something he’d been talking about since leaving rehab.
One of my best friends was due to get married in May, for which I’d be travelling to Scotland for a long weekend. My spring and summer 2020 are sprinkled with due dates with three of my friends expecting to give birth in the next two months.
Obviously, none of those things have gone to plan. I’ve hardly seen any of Brighton where I now live, beyond peering out of my window and taking a short walk to the fields near my house. Our New York trip was swiftly cancelled. My friend’s wedding has been postponed until next year. And I haven’t yet, and won’t for a long while, meet any of my friend’s new babies.
Of course, none of it matters in the grand scheme of things. Over 12,00 people have died from coronavirus in the UK alone. NHS staff are working endless shifts. Businesses are failing. My ruined holiday plans are literally nothing compared to the pain that people are going through. But what’s hit me, more than looking at a languishing, stretching summer, is that I just expected everything would go exactly according to plan.
I feel embarrassed to say it: but it never occurred to me that the future in my head, just wouldn’t magically come true. Would you call it arrogance? Sheer privilege?
This global pandemic has forced me to sit with myself and realise how utterly naïve I was to think that my life would be just as I imagined.
I still think it’s important to want the most for yourself. I still advocate striving for goals, whether they be career-focused, travelling plans, or just making every day as fun as it can be. But this experience has humbled me into realising that life has lots of twists and turns. You have to just roll with the punches, be happy with your lot and make the most of it.
Right now, the things that matter the most to me aren’t a glamorous trip away that I can post all over social media, it’s keeping in touch with my friends. Seeing their little faces pop up on a video call feels like such a privilege.
Again, it probably sounds cheesy, but my short-term future being taken out of my hands has made me realise that until now, I didn’t realise how lucky I was to have had everything go to plan.
There’s not many positives to take from coronavirus, but this realisation could be one, and a thought I’ll try and hold onto when life returns to normal.
Images: Jonny Nussey / Instagram