During his 38 years, U.S. Army veteran and former Fort Hood soldier Chris Owusu says he has seen society struggle with things like the swine flu, an Ebola virus outbreak, Y2K fears, stock market crashes, and recession, but the current COVID-19 pandemic easily tops that list of calamities.
“Those things were nothing like this,” said Owusu, a Killeen resident. “It is quite mind-boggling, but I try to take it one day at a time and make the best of it. We’re not in a third-world country; we’re not at civil war; it’s not martial law; so I make sure I focus on the things I can do, and not on the things that are out of my control.”
Now working as a middle school English teacher in Killeen, Owusu is originally from Alexandria, Virginia. His parents and brothers still live there, and he said last week that the situation back home is much the same as it is here: businesses closed; schools shut down; stay-at-home orders issued by the governor.
His family is coping pretty well, he said, but his young brothers, ages 19 and 25, are struggling a little bit with the newly imposed restrictions and lack of freedom.
“It’s the same thing as here; exactly the same. I talk to my brothers every week, and to my parents every other week.
“I think my brothers are having a more difficult time adjusting, because they’re still young. They’ve never experienced anything like this, and they’re not used to these stringent measures that are being taken.”
As for himself, Owusu said that although he lives alone, he is doing alright under the shelter-at-home and other social-distancing mandates that are changing the way most people normally live their lives.
“Personally, I’m an ambivert (someone whose personality is a mixture of extrovert and introvert), so I’m OK being by myself, reading and studying. I had my routine of going to the gym, working out, things like that, but once they shut that down, I had to be creative, as far as not having cabin fever.
“I was going out to play basketball — I know, 6 feet and all that, but — I was going outside to play basketball, until they took the rims down. Thank you, Killeen City Council. They took the rims down at every outside court. Now, it’s a little bit harder (to find things to do).
“It’s been a little tough adjusting to not being able to do things I want to do. Like I said, I don’t mind being by myself, but on my own terms,” he said, laughing.
“I live alone, but I have my daughter here in town, so I go see her a lot. I make sure I see her often. With schools now closed, I spend several hours a day working from home, and then there’s a lot of e-mailing people, texting, checking on them. Sometimes, I’ll just get out and go walk around Lions Park, just to see other humans.
“I also lean on my faith factor. I do recommend that people constructively use the time and connect with God. This is a great time to get to know your creator; reading the Bible would be a great avenue; and also reading self-improvement books. I don’t think there will be another time in history where you’ll have this much time to focus.”