I haven’t written here in about six months despite having four worthless, rambling drafts.
My blog is the perfect sample study for how COVID single-handedly stunted the growth of this country.
I stopped writing right around the time COVID hit the news cycle and have been focused on other things.
This was a purely fun creative project I started and totally forgot about as the world spiraled downward.
I’m going to try and post weekly with no emphasis on any specific content.
Today’s special: COVID-19
COVID sucks, it flipped life upside down and is forcing us to live in a greater uncertainty than usual. It has become politicized (somehow) and heavily talked about.
I don’t care to talk the politics of it – that’s someone else’s job. I want to talk about the personal challenges we are all facing – what we have in common.
COVID didn’t stop us from growing – it presented it’s own set of challenges that required us to drop everything (normal life) and adapt to a new, frightful environment.
My belief is that many of us will emerge from COVID as much stronger people. We have been forced to be alone, void of social interaction – aside from those we live with. For many it’s family, for some it’s roommates, for others it’s just themselves.
Speaking from the family perspective, I moved back in with my parents, brother, and sister in April. I avoided it for about a month, before seeing the good in this.
At 20 (now 21), my time lived in the family home was coming to an end. For three years I spent half of it disconnected from the family, focusing on studying, school life, and work.
I’d experienced a lot in college – drugs, sex, depression – and decided that I needed to be all set with the idea of it potentially being over. COVID has hung over our heads for 6 months – threatening today, tomorrow, and the future with zero clarity.
I prepped for the worst, and it was shockingly easy to let go.
It turns out, I really don’t give a shit.
Those of us who are safe from COVID should recognize the gift it has presented us. Allow me to graciously offer my insight:
People are dying around the world from a brand new virus. This is in addition to the litany of seasonal viruses, which already pose a constant threat. COVID is extremely contagious and is a new virus that researchers and scientists are still trying to understand.
Old folks who worked their entire lives for a peaceful retirement – where they can travel, live how they want, watch their families grow, or play bingo ’till the late hours of 7 p.m. – are being taken early.
People with preexisting conditions live in fear of contracting COVID and becoming hospitalized.
Here is a true story from my former workplace:
A forty-something year old single father, a Type-2 diabetic that has to continue working two jobs to support his two daughters. He has to watch idiots stumble around a grocery store, completely ignorant to the lines directing flows of traffic, with their masks hanging off their face, talking and chatting with other customers, then stand two feet away from these assholes as they checkout.
He has to worry about contracting the virus from some halfwit who can’t grasp the concept of wearing a mask. He has to worry about being hospitalized and leaving his daughters in the care of his elderly mother.
You wouldn’t expect him to be an at risk individual and you wouldn’t expect him to also be a shining example of growth and strength. A man with a story chalk full of actions, consequences, and never-ending struggle.
All while being a natural conversationalist with a specialty in raw storytelling that makes you think, laugh, and appreciate.
Without COVID, his life is difficult. With COVID – just imagine for yourself.
I’m not at-risk. My family is healthy. My parents are still working. I have a place to live. I have nobody to be responsible for, sans myself. I’m getting an education, I have a co-op (internship) with a contract extension through the semester and potential to continue on.
So what am I losing?
I’m missing out on my senior year of college, I’m missing out on being 21 and going to college bars, I’m missing the in-person education that I’m paying for. I’m missing out on making new friends and experiences.
This is nothing to lose.
I have had three years to make friends, go out, and have experiences. I have the rest of my 20s to enjoy being 21.
Now that we’ve quelled this little nostalgic sadness rebellion with a little bit of optimism, let’s dive deeper into why it can be let go.
For starters, no decisions have been made on the spring semester – we could be back on campus then.
Boom, that’s an easy one.
Well what if we don’t get to go back? Fair point – and not out of the realm of possibility.
We could very much find ourselves in a virtual setting for the entire year. We’ll talk about the future a little farther down.
Instead, let’s focus on right now. Many of us are telecommuting for the fall semester. What’s this mean?
We aren’t paying for housing, so we can cut the cost of school in half. Less loans or maybe even no loans.
We will have a ridiculous amount of free time. I suggest pursuing creative hobbies, working out, and strengthening your current relationships.
Some other ideas: Read a book, explore personal finance, learn about the stock market, learn about the job market (that we are so close to entering), pursue certifications to boost your resume, explore nature, play a new video game, learn how to take care of yourself, learn to cook, develop good habits, adjust your routine, work (if possible) and save money, work (again, if possible) and spend money, find alternative ways to socialize (video games, video chats, social media).
That’s the now that we are sure of. Now let’s focus on the future (the things we have to face no matter what).
I’m at the border of childhood and adulthood – heaven and hell in the eyes of a nihilist.
I’m zeroing in on graduation and with that comes a lot of scary real life things that I need to be able to face.
Chances are, if you’re bitching about missing out on your senior year, you aren’t ready for real life. You’re worrying about the wrong things.
I’m in the hole about 30-40k with one year to go and I have got the taste of real life on the tip of my tongue.
I work an office job without a degree that pays around 40k a year. That’s not much – not even close to what I want – but it’s enough of a start (as an intern! Most of these things are unpaid, people!!)
I can graduate by December 2021. If I’m lucky I can be done next summer. I’ll finally have paid my way to that precious piece of paper that will propel me to the upper middle class (ideally).
Then, I can live out my wildest fantasies – all the while having the security and pay of an office job.
Budget, live below means, pay off loans, save and invest – these are my fantasies!
Getting back to the point, COVID will end and life will resume – slowly, but surely.
I’ve used my time in solitary confinement as a time for personal growth, soul revival, and future planning.
I realized that being sad fixes nothing. Yes, it is one of those brutal necessities – like paying for parking – but we can never forget that we are in control of our emotions.
We have the power to change our perspective – though it may be easier to feel cheated by COVID – we are all going through it and someone always has it worse.
Take the high road – Define an outlook that works for you and believe in it.
Personally, I don’t plan on being hit with the brick we call reality, I plan on sidestepping and counterattacking that bitch!
Thanks for reading, I appreciate your audience.
Check out this entertaining video from the 80s speaking with the neighborhood in his thick, Italian Boston accent.