I don’t know if I can say that the pandemic has taught me anything. I know it was hard for everybody, and I know that a lot of people had it worse. The COVID-19 pandemic is not something I can look back on and say with confidence I remember every day like yesterday. I barely remember any of it. It seemed to go by so fast, but I still feel the days drag by. I do remember the feelings I had and what the pandemic made me go through.
I am going to be 16 years old on Nov. 22, and I’m scared. I still feel like I should be 13. I should be running around, laughing, making mistakes and asking to go over to my friend’s house. But I missed out on that. Now I am told to act my age; you’re going to be driving soon; you’re going to be graduating; you are going to be paying bills and moving out in a couple years. But then again people tell me to let loose, be a kid. I don’t know how I am meant to be both. I don’t know how to take time for myself, and I don’t know how to say no.
Because of COVID, I lost interest in those things I used to love. I quit gymnastics; I haven’t picked up my fiddle in months; I can’t remember the last time I went outside to play tag.
Some things I regret giving up. But sometimes I remember how fast I had to stop. I remember how quickly I was staring at a screen all day. It makes me think about all the time I had: to go for a walk with the same music on repeat, to watch YouTube and get TikTok.
Now it feels like I have no time at all. I’m always busy, always running around and trying not to double book myself. I feel like I can’t catch a break. Everything is happening so fast, and it feels like I missed out on all the questions I was supposed to ask.
Instead of asking about who I was, I was asking about the new variants, the number of cases, how soon I could hang out with my friends, and if we had a COVID test. I never got a break from the new because I was living the new. I was in the middle of a pandemic, the kind you learn about in history, right in the middle.
I never realized how safe I could feel wearing a piece of cloth on my face or washing my hands with lavender soap every five minutes. Now I just feel tired, I feel so annoyed and so very worried it will happen again. Only now I am prepared.