My grandma always told me to enjoy your life while your young. I lost two years of my youth when the pandemic began; something that started as a nice break from school quickly ended in loss of memories.
Graduation, banquets, and events were all things I spent years looking forward to. Monumental events were cancelled, and my graduation turned into a quick text and a picture off my laptop as I listened to my name through my computer speaker.
I was lucky to live in Nova Scotia for school during the pandemic. The Atlantic Bubble was isolating but I was lucky enough to live with five of my best friends. Although I consider myself one of the lucky ones during the pandemic, I find it hard not to dwell on the past.
Many of us have blocked this time out of our lives; in fact, what is there to remember? Disappointment after disappointment left lots of us feeling numb to change. So many pivotal points in my life were canceled. Nothing seemed to ever make sense during those two years. My classes are online yet my tuition has gone up. Gyms are closed but don’t worry, feel free to spend your time at a crowded shopping mall. Prioritize handing your assignments on time vs. prioritizing your health during a pandemic. These are just a few examples of the confusing times youth experienced during the pandemic.
Although the pandemic left a lasting negative impact on my life, I can’t help but reflect on the positives I witnessed. Although most of my time during the pandemic was in Nova Scotia, when the pandemic first hit I rushed out of school back home to Calgary. I remember seeing my local park filled with families riding their bikes and groups of friends going on walks.
As much of our lives are filled with technology, when the pandemic hit, we craved social interaction. Something I think we had taken for granted beforehand. I remember growing up with my friends on these pathways, riding our bikes and spending time together, but as technology grew, I saw fewer and fewer kids spending their childhoods like I did. It wasn’t until the pandemic that I saw kids enjoying their time just like the old times.
During such a hard time in many of our lives, there was still joy that filled the streets. The pandemic changed many of us, but it also reminded us to slow down. No technology will ever be able to replace the joy that comes from people. The pandemic reminded us that to build a community, all we need is each other.