We have entered week five of the Covid-19 global pandemic (or is it six? Who can tell time anymore?) and let’s face it, there doesn’t seem to be an end to this. We don’t even know what the world will look like once this finally ends, and whether it will ever be the same.
One thing I know for sure is that we will never look at humanity the same way again, after all, this pandemic has the power to expose our real, unfiltered, authentic selves to the world. Now we are no longer Enneagram Type 1 or Type 5, we’re not ENFJ or INTJ. Our personalities have evolved during this pandemic, and I find most if not all of us fall into one of five types of people.
In the interest of self-reflection, I invite you to take a look at each of these types of people to see if you have met any of them, or are even one of them. Here they are:
1. The Drama Majors
A lot of celebs fall into this first type of people, and for good reason. Instead of being the ones to encourage the masses, they have been spending their time in quarantine bemoaning the fact that they cannot leave their sprawling estates (Yes, we’re totally judging you, Ellen deGeneres). And unfortunately for us, The Drama Majors aren’t just the out-of-touch celebrities with too much money. They are also people you know (mostly millennials but also some boomers, Gen Z-ers, even Gen X-ers) who constantly complain and complain and complain about not being able to go outside. Yes, we get it, you’re bored. Do something, like I don’t know… work? You do know the W in WFH stands for Work, right? And by complaining here, I do not mean the people who are genuinely worried about how to support themselves and their families. The people who lost income, who still have bills and mortgage to pay, the people who don’t have parents or relatives to turn to in times of trouble. Funnily enough, these people aren’t complaining. They’re too busy trying to put food on the table to complain.
No, the Drama Majors complain about not being able to hang out with their friends in restaurants, about the possibility of having to lose their “freedom” by moving back home with their parents because they can’t afford to live on their own anymore (of course they’re broke. Whatever money they could earn from not working full-time, they spend on iced coffee and hanging out in MBloc Space every weekend), about not having enough to do yet at the same time “feeling pressured to be productive” (who, pray tell, is pressuring you to be productive, child, when you weren’t even productive to begin with before the pandemic?), about nobody understanding what they are going through when the whole world is literally going through the same thing. Out of the 5 types of people in this list, the Drama Majors are definitely the most annoying and the loudest. Don’t be the Drama Majors. You are better than that.
2. The “Wellness” Gurus
You will most likely meet this second type of people on Instagram, which is like a breeding ground for them - one by one they keep popping up, no matter how hard you try to ignore them. At first, you appreciate their care and concern for your wellbeing. You thank them for their free yoga and meditation sessions on IG live. You read their beautifully designed motivational quotes with all sincerity and don’t question why those quotes feel empty and devoid of meaning. You also indulge their tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle during a pandemic.
But it has been over five weeks, and they have gotten more and more useless, insincere and irritating. Their message of self-care above all else feels a little too privileged, especially since these are people who post their meditation sessions by the pool of their pristine, beautiful houses that are maintained by an army of housemaids. They seem to forget that most people’s anxieties come from a real place of “how am I going to survive if this continues?” Sure, there are some who don’t have these worries because they are the 1 percent who, even with Covid-19 making a dent in their stock portfolio, can still cruise by life pretty easily, but they’re called the 1 percent for a reason. When you put out a message for the general public on a public platform accessible to all, maybe try to tone down the privilege and instead of assuming what people need based on your friends’ complaints, why not go out of your circle a little bit and see what the rest of the population is actually struggling with? See how you can help there?
And if you really don’t care about how people are doing and just want to peddle your brand or products… maybe, be honest about it. Be honest about who you are for and what you’re about. At least for now. Don’t pretend you care if you really don’t care. And if you want to care, try a little less talking and a little more listening.
3. The Productivity Shamers
The third type of people can further be divided into 2 sub-types: the first is the ones who shame you for not being productive enough, and the second is the ones who shame you for being too productive. Both are just as bad. Productivity Shamer Type 1 is the kind who does everything – and I mean everything – during this lockdown. They cook (and post about it on Instagram), bake banana bread (and post about it on Instagram), make Dalgona coffee (again, and post about it on Instagram), attend various Zoom meetings (work-related or otherwise), work out and post insane workout challenges on Instagram, homeschool their children and actually look like they know what they’re doing, organize online charity events, read books, journal, paint, craft, sew homemade masks, and as if all of those things aren’t enough, they somehow find time in their insanely busy schedule to judge those of us who choose not to bother with brushing our hair, or changing out of our pajamas, or refusing to learn to cook, or spending our days when there aren’t much to do by consuming an insane amount of streaming content.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t be productive during this pandemic. By all means, go and accomplish all the things you did not manage to do when you had to spend six hours being stuck in traffic every day. But to shame others for not doing the same is frankly, a little sanctimonious. Plus, why do you need to do all these things every single day? What are you trying to prove?
Productivity Shamer Type 2 on the other hand, is the complete opposite. They actually shame us for still being productive in times like these. They make us feel bad for still having a job (?) or clients (??) or deadlines (???), because – in their words – we aren’t “using this time to just be”. Instead, we focus on the “do” and we fall into the trap of capitalism and being just a cog in the machine, serving the man, yada, yada, yada. Well, I’m sorry, but if I don’t “do”, I won’t get paid. And if I don’t get paid, I can’t afford the house I live in that also houses other people and pets who rely on the income I make. If companies – those capitalists you rail against – don’t make money, they stop paying their employees. And when those employees can’t earn a living, they can’t feed their families. We all want to just use this time to “be”, but guess what, just “being” solves absolutely nothing. So excuse us if we still want to work, produce and ensure that none of our families go hungry. Maybe you want to give poverty a try one day, see how you like it?
4. The Contented Introverts AKA The Natural Born Hermits
Let’s face it, being on lockdown is like an everyday thing for the natural born hermits, and something most introverts have little problem adjusting to. Being one, I can testify to this fact. I didn’t even like going or playing outside as a child. Being forced to stay indoors and not socialize so much sounds more like a reward than punishment. I have no problem filling my time, or adjusting to WFH because I have always been working from home (I didn’t even like working in a co-working space, because it made no sense to me. I wanted to work from home so I wouldn’t have to work with other people around), or even not being able to leave the house since I don’t really like doing it anyway.
I am actually faring much better after being put on lockdown. I get more things done because I don’t have to waste time commuting, I find Zoom meetings tend to be more effective than actual face-to-face meetings, and when I’m “hanging out” with my friends and I’m bored, I can just say, hey let’s end this Zoom session for today, and leave without having to wait for the bill to come (which could sometimes take forever) like I used to have to do when I had to hang out with them at restaurants.
I realize though, the rest of you find people like me are annoying as hell. The fact that we are thriving at a time when other people are flailing often makes us unable to relate with the struggles that others are facing. It makes us a tad judgmental and severely lacking in empathy, because we keep wondering why they can’t seem to handle a simple thing like staying home. I know I have fallen into that trap of telling people to “snap out of it” when all they need is a little compassion. And those of you who are like me have probably done it too. We can’t undo what’s been done, all the impatient, dismissive remarks we’ve said to those who are struggling with this, but maybe from now on we can choose to exercise empathy and compassion, knowing that for a lot of people, this is not the life that they have ever imagined they would be living.
5. The Heroes Among Us
And finally, the fifth and best type of people you meet during a global pandemic is the actual real-life superheroes you never used to notice until a deadly virus threatens to take down the entire planet. They are the healthcare workers who choose to continue showing up for work, even when PPEs (Personal Protective Equipments) are scarce and their safety and lives are at stake. They are the trash collectors, street sweepers, delivery drivers, security guards, minimart and supermarket employees, restaurant workers that have to deal with the shift to delivery and take out only, taxi drivers that find they barely have passengers and orders yet choose to not resort to desperate measures, and many more.
They are your aging parents trying their best to put on a brave face even as they try adapting to technology they’re not familiar with in order to stay in touch with their grandchildren that they miss but can no longer hold. They are your friends who have every reason to complain yet choosing not to, and instead are always there to listen to your complaints without judgment. They are the entrepreneurs whose businesses take a major hit and still commit to paying their employees’ salaries instead of letting them go, and who try to look for ways to pivot as opposed to giving up. They are the seemingly ordinary people who use this time to give even as they receive less and less, the ones who think of others instead of just their own interest.
These are the heroes among us, and the good news is, we all can be in this category. We can be heroes, as the great David Bowie once sang. All we have to do is make that choice to be one, instead of the other four types of people in this list.
I think I’m going to give it a try. Want to join me?