In Their Own Words

Moving forward

When the pandemic started, I was halfway through Grade 9. My friends and I had just started working out at the local gym. We had a routine established: play basketball for an hour or so, then mess around with the weights. We were proud of ourselves, losing baby fat and putting a bit of muscle on. I was building myself a base at an age most people can’t conceive.

Then the pandemic hit. The gym closed down for a week, a week turned to a month, a month became a few months, and eventually became the pandemic we all know. I was a 14-year-old kid who began his bad habits again, eating junk food and playing video games for hours on end. Behaving like a total slob. I did not have the discipline and motivation to work out by myself.

Every bit of athleticism and physique I once had was gone, I gained all the weight I lost, ruined my endurance, and was back at square 1, more like square -2. During this period, I would complain about how unfair the circumstances were and how I wished I could go to the gym, play basketball with my friends and work out. The sad reality was I couldn’t. I just had to suck it up and wait until the whole thing blew over.

Eighteen months passed. I went through my whole freshman year (Grade 10) without working out at all. I complained about how I did not have the endurance I used to have and other measly excuses. Eventually, summer came and I got a YMCA pass for fun since I was bored out of my mind. I started weight training again and I vividly remember how sore I was after the first workouts. I bought an overpriced massage gun that didn’t even work. I stuck with it and just kept training.

I ended up sticking with it during all of Grade 11, right up to this moment. I am proud of the progress I have made. I built something that took time and dedication. I learned from the pandemic that life is like a game of chess. You can only look at the position you are in and make the next best move. The sad reality of life is you play the hand you are dealt. I could not go back in time and tell my Grade 9 self to work out. That is not how life works. I could only start training and make the best possible move in my situation.

The pandemic taught me to do my best in any situation, instead of complaining about what could have or should have been. It’s OK to make bad moves now and then but you can’t take those bad moves back; you just have to find a way to move forward out of the position you are in.

The comments section is closed.

  • Ivonne says:

    Great experience shared, and motivating for all of us usually struggling with staying healthy, no matter the age.

  • Michael Campbell says:

    This is good essay through the eyes of a teenager. Well done Yousef!

  • Shiva Nourpanah says:

    I am so proud of the progress Yousef has made, and also his writing skill and ability to share his journey with others!


Yousef Mousavi

Citadel High School – Grade 12
Halifax, Nova Scotia

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