By: Caitlin Silver
Any transition to a new year is usually euphoric, which was especially the case with the start of the new decade in 2020. Little did anyone know what good and bad would come with the new “reality” of having to avoid the obstacles of social interactions.
My family got creative with managing the more “free time” that would be available and would invite fun activities that they could occupy their time with.
Others were faced with two long, difficult years.
Two life-changing years.
Two years of a pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus which forced the world to continuously adapt and change.
But also two years that have given others, myself included, a chance to grow and learn.
Little did I know how much of an impact spending more time with my family would have on my mental health. Before the lockdown, I had never had this sense of reality, until it was forced into my life. We had so much time to do things we’ve never done before. This included bonfires by the stream that we often never trek down too, and deep conversations in general. We could basically do whatever we pleased in all of this allotted time.
The air just seemed fresh and pleasant everyday during the first few warm months in the lockdown.
This “two week” lockdown was a very exciting new start for me emotionally, though, for some, understandably, it was anything but. My sister and I had time to binge watch “Stranger Things” on Netflix, which we finished in only a few days. I appreciated the quality time together since, normally, we only have school-related conversations during the in-person school year.
Even though our lives have returned to some semblance of normality, or a “new-normal,” and even though there are moments when I wish we could have the type of time the beginning stages of the pandemic afforded us, I am happy that I had the time with my family and all the time in the world to explore new hobbies. Time like that that I may never get again.
It’s hard to fathom that I never knew how much having friends would have an enlightening impact on me. I knew that they would make me happy talking to them daily in school, but I just never fully understood their meaning in my life. This was until I was never able to see them under strict COVID-19 restrictions and would end up secluding myself from them entirely.
In addition to the good things that occurred in quarantine, the relief of the vaccine would finally be a part of my life. My parents’ anxiety about getting the virus would finally dissipate for the most part. We could get together with extended family again, with the extent of taking safety precautions, but it did boost my mental health.
Vaccines also meant we could return to school more safely, with the exception of having to wear masks, and many businesses moved back to being open at full capacity. My sleep schedule and ability to see and talk with friends every single day at school became a reality. I never realized how much I had taken school for granted.
Although there have been difficult moments during the quarantine, it has made the transition to high school more fun since I was able to meet more friends. In a way, coming back to school was like a new beginning for all of us.
The "over a year" of being in quarantine to transitioning to in-person school and returning to "normal" activities came as fast as my shoes wearing out from the endless walks I took in my neighborhood.
I miss every aspect of it but am very grateful to return to a "normal life." I have learned to take nothing for granted anymore.