Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I have seen my peers worry about lost time. In many ways, it feels like we have all lost a year from our lives — and if you are in your 20s like I am, it can feel like you have lost one of the "best years of your life."
When you have only lived for 20-something years, a year lost can feel significant. Or perhaps it feels so disappointing because from a young age, we are collectively conditioned to believe our good years are over when we fatefully turn 30.
I turned 21 in December 2019. I came back to the second semester of my junior year ready to spend every weekend at a bar (no matter how disappointing bars in Chapel Hill are).
But, because life never goes the way you plan, the two months before quarantine were not as fun as I would have liked. And I soon found myself back in my room at my parents’ house, staring at the wall to pass the time.
What was supposed to be an extended spring break turned into a remote semester. Then another. Now, I’m in my third. Somewhere in there, I turned 22.
I used our time of social distancing to spend more time in nature, and every time I do I cannot help but think about how silly things are. GPAs. Internships. The 9-to-5 workday. When you are faced with things like the mountains and the stars, it all just feels so silly.
Unfortunately, we are still required to operate within the society we live. That being said, I refuse to let my “good years'' expire. Not after this year.
This past year has sucked. I assume — though for some more than others — it has been terrible for everyone. How could it not be? We have been living through a pandemic that has affected all of us, even if some people act like it doesn’t impact them.
I am also not so foolish as to expect the next year of this pandemic to look too much different from the last, though I will be pleasantly surprised if I am wrong about that.