August 12, 2020
Reflections from Covid-19
I hadn’t written in a while. It was a warm 12th of July, around 9:45 on my sister’s birthday. I found out I tested positive for the Coronavirus or Covid 19 as it is also known. I was quite shocked as I thought it would only be a cold that would go away in a matter of days.
Life in that instance changed dramatically. As I got my results back, I called my parents to inform them immediately, both of them have a high blood pressure. My dad had had a heart procedure two months prior and had recently gotten out of surgery for his lower back. A pinched nerve that had him in a fragile state.
Having Covid was an imminent risk for my whole family. As I headed back, my family would leave to my sister Alejandra’s house, to celebrate her birthday. The house felt empty but at the same time I was relieved they were gone, I couldn’t be a threat to them if they weren’t around.
As I prepared to lock myself in isolation, I promised I would use this time to write more and read more. To be quite frank I did not do much writing. I spent most days reading Las Venas Abiertas de América Latina by Eduardo Galeano and watching Netflix. It is hard for me to focus when I am sitting in one place.
I am an active person, I tend to move in search of inspiration. I tend to walk among the bright city lights, or a dusky road. Not being able to go out has affected me greatly.
Before Covid I told myself I would work on a great journalist project to get my mind back on track, that did not happen, as I found myself in complete idleness. Coughing, sneezing, having mild fevers and passing out early at nights, instead of contemplating as I usually do.
There is no doubt in the fact that being confined in four walls for 14 days changes your perception about life, to the point where you even begin to wander about your own sanity.
At first, the days went by slowly. Through my windows, I would look out for the people passing by or taking a stroll with their dogs, basking in the summer heat, as I wondered to myself, why me?
Did I do something to deserve this? Wasn’t I in the news a couple of days ago talking about the importance of wearing a mask? What the hell went wrong?
I worked at a restaurant previously, despite the fact of taking the preventive measures of wearing a mask and even gloves, it is really hard to keep safe when you can’t social distance properly. At times the restaurant would get so packed that social distancing would be impossible. Until the inevitable came and I tested positive for Covid.
Life changed in that instance, I had to face it. I managed to stay calm and collected through the diagnosis and then I began to think about my life from there. It started with a simple cough, and then a fever that wouldn’t go away but as a philosopher I had to analyze deeper into the matter.
As I lay in my bed in complete austerity, I began to ponder about my path through life and the things that I had done. All my accomplishments seemed insignificant at that point. I had worked for the number one Spanish station in Houston, I had written travel articles for a well known magazine in Houston and lastly I had interned at a digital marketing agency with great clients.
All of these things had seemed irrelevant as I lay there in my bed, hoping the virus wouldn’t make it that far into my lungs. I had watched videos of people my age being unable to breath, as others refused to wear a mask on social media deeming the masks as a “violation of our freedom”.
Up to this point, my life had been a collage of different experiences throughout the media industry, bouncing up from place to place in search for something that would give my life meaning. I began to formulate all of these ideas in my head, that maybe I could be a great marketing person, or that maybe I could be an anchor. All of these ideas began to flood my mind, but no decision was made on the final verdict.
I felt like I wasn’t living up to the hype a lot of people made me out to be. I remember telling one of my teachers in high school I didn’t know if I was gonna make it into a specific school, she looked at me and said “You are Rony Ortiz, of course you will”.
I don’t know if destiny exists or not (won’t get into the metaphysics right now), but I will say this. Up to this point, I was living a life that was not entirely fulfilling. I had been living a life where I always thought I could do better, balancing school, work and other projects wasn’t easy and I still felt like I wasn’t doing enough.
Oftentimes I sacrificed things I wanted to do, or hangouts with people I really wanted to be with. Not that I am saying you shouldn’t make any sacrifices in life because you will at some point or another, but to the point where it is not healthy for you. My priority was my job, not pursuing my dreams and that is where I was wrong.
That spark of creativity that was burning in me was slowly dissipating into the coldness and darkness of monotony and after being locked up for 14 days, I felt relieved but at the same time I felt scared for the first time.
I quit my job, without having anything else lined up. I worry about my parent’s health as my dad just turned 70 these years. The past couple of years my dad has been a little more reflective and from time to time when we all gather up for family gatherings, my dad will always bring up the topic of death.
Listening to my dad talk about death is not something I really wanna hear. Not in a family setting, not right now, but time does play its trick on all of us, as it has done on myself as well.
This has been a hell of a year for everyone, I am sure, but this has been the year where I have truly taken Socrates famous quote, “The unexamined life is a life not worth living” to the heart.
I’ve come to terms with my dreams and desires, and I’ve come to realize reality from fantasy. In a way that today, I look back to those experiences and I am grateful for how they have shaped my life, for now I am able to understand my priorities much better. I have come to put myself first and not anyone else, and I have finally decided to pursue my dream of becoming a writer.
I have decided to take a step forward and pay it back to those who have helped me (my parents, who I love so much). I will do what it takes to fulfill my dream, and write, write away and let the words flow on an endless sea. I will let my creativity spark again, and never give up on this dream, until the day I die.