As we move into the final stretch of 2020, I would be remiss in not writing this article. I’m sure by now you’ve seen the memes about the angel who accidentally misheard God and put a decade worth of history into one year, or even talks about the different “seasons” of quarantine. While these memes highlight one coping strategy when it comes to dealing with 2020, it’s important to acknowledge that…
None of us were prepared for this.
Remember how bright eyed and bushy tailed we were at the beginning of this year? We all screamed goodbye to 2019 and welcomed in the next decade, one that was supposed to be full of new beginnings. Everything was fine, until it wasn’t. In between the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, and the impeachment trial of President Trump, the early portion of 2020 certainly had a damper on it. Even still, we were hopeful for better months ahead of us. But then there were whispers of this new disease in China. Some called it COVID-19, while others labeled it Corona. First discovered in China, the disease quickly spread to Europe, and finally landed in the United States. In what we thought would be an extra week of spring break, March 13 marked the beginning of the end of life as we knew it.
Now, as we sit here over eight months later, it’s important to remember one thing…
You have tried your best.
None of us have lived through a pandemic on this scale before. While most people may remember Ebola, its presence in our country was felt on the minimal scale. Coronavirus has seized the nation with its stealth and deadly symptoms. It floats through the air, picking and choosing not only who it will afflict, but also how harshly it will do so.
Other than its physical effects, the pandemic has heavily weakened the nation psychologically. Anyone who believes that the United States was a beacon of tranquility before this year needs to seriously reevaluate their perspective and self-reflect on how privileged it is. What COVID-19 has done is exacerbate the cracks in our already fractured nation. From the political turmoil that began with the impeachment trial to the presidential election, and then, the racial tension rekindled over the summer as a result of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, there has never been a point this year where it felt like we could stop holding our breath.
Needless to say, constantly being in this state is exhausting. You must acknowledge that. And the best way to do this is to…
Listen to yourself and what you need.
No one will fault you for needing to take time. This year has been hard. It’s been draining, frustrating, infuriating, and just all around difficult. The least you could do is listen to yourself and what makes you happy. Take care of yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Find the space within all of the chaos to truly hear what your body is telling you. Read a novel that will bring you joy. Bake something with your closest friends. Reconnect with those in your life who you could never find the time for. Take the time to go for a walk, stretch your muscles, and breathe in the outside air (as safely as possible of course). Reward your body for doing its best to help you survive during a time like this. You deserve it.
Our lives have turned upside down. Nothing is certain anymore and everything is confusing. That being said, perhaps there are blessings to be found in this. You have the chance to determine the person you are and who you want to be in all of this mess. Embrace this opportunity.
With everything being said, that leads me back to my original point…
You need to give yourself grace.
We are almost at the end of 2020. First of all, thank goodness. Second of all, I think I speak for most people when I say this has been one of the toughest times of our young adult lives. No one is equipped to process this amount of grief, anger, and overall stress, especially not in this short of time.
Like I said before, none of us have ever been through a pandemic of this scale before. We are all young adults trying to find our way in this insane timeline. Gen Z came into a world full of chaos and it seems like things have only been getting worse and worse.
Do not compare yourselves to past generations around you or even to your peers right now. You are doing what you need to in order to survive. Allow yourself to grow in the ways that are designed for you and recognize that this timeline is your own.
So, here’s to 2020. For all the laughs, all the pain, all the confusion, but most importantly, for all the growth. However, through it all, if there is one thing that you take from this article, it needs to be this…
You are doing the best you can, and that in and of itself is enough.