Column: Things The Pandemic Taught Me

Credits: Angelo Vero

We may quietly say that the worst is over now that the pandemic is more or less at its end. In his column today, Angelo Vero looks back on the past years and what he has learned from them.

“It took a pandemic to get me to be my true self again.

Officially, I cannot yet say that the pandemic is over, although talking about it seems to be looking backwards. When I think back on the past years and reflect on the here and now, I notice some important changes. Especially the way I put things in perspective, how I think about certain things or what I do. Below I list some of the things the pandemic has taught me.

Follow your dreams

Fourteen years, that’s the number of years I’ve always dreamed of living abroad. It wasn’t until last year in May that I made the decision to finally make the move. Together with Cindy, I decided to live in the Dominican Republic. Not an unknown country, because of the trips I had already made, but still a completely unknown situation. Living abroad is completely different from going somewhere on vacation.

The choice really came because of the pandemic. I don’t know if I would have ever done it without the pandemic. Because before that, I was constantly traveling as a travel influencer. To me that seemed like the most logical, next best thing. Because really moving, I could only dream about that, so I thought.

For now, I don’t regret my choice to move at all. The island is a complete change from Belgium and yet I really feel at home here. Whether I’m going to live here forever? No idea. But that’s not important either. What is important is that I finally realized a dream that I never thought I would and I can only recommend it. Follow your dreams, because you will only know if it can become something if you really try.

Do more of what makes you happy

Because I no longer live in Belgium and am therefore physically at a distance from a lot of people, I have also been able to take a mental distance. Distance from judgment and opinions that don’t really matter. The only opinion I now follow is my own barometer: does this make me happy? If the answer is no, then the choice is quickly made. People will always judge you. There will always be one person that does not like what you do, even if if you tick all of the boxes of what is accepted. So why would you give so much power to one person’s opinion about you?

“Letting go of people’s opinion has led to more opportunities

than I could ever have imagined!”

This mental freedom means that I now enjoy the things I do in my free time more than before. And the fun part is, the more you let go, the more you want to push it and do more things you never did or dared to do before. I got to know a lot of fantastic people by following my passion or by simply being true to who I am. People with whom I am now in the process of developing great projects. By letting go of the doubts about what others would think, I now have many more opportunities in front of me. Which is awesome!

Credits: Saint Garibaldi Rey

People are everything

Although I am less concerned with people and their opinions, I do not distance myself from people. On the contrary, these days I even surround myself with more people than before. The difference is mainly in the type of people. The right group of acquaintances or friends can really do anything for you. It makes me feel more myself, and it gives me an enormous boost in confidence and self-esteem.

At the beginning of the pandemic, I lived in a hellish situation. I was living with people who didn’t share the same ideologies, norms and values as I did. And just when the pandemic forces you to sit at home and spend a lot of hours with each other, a common factor is pretty important. If a large part of the conversations turn into a discussion where both parties share a different opinion, then the situation becomes really difficult.

That is why I am so happy that today I find myself in a completely different situation. And I also know now that I am no longer prepared to give this up. Surrounding myself with the right people has become an absolute must. You may still lose everything, but with the right people around you, everything feels better.

What things did you learn about yourself during the pandemic? What shifts in mindset did you go through? I look forward to seeing your responses.

This article has been written by @ANGELO VERO

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