I simply cannot remember how I was living my life around this time last year. Life before Covid was a dream. It seems as though the entirety of 2020 was spent in quarantine or living with enforced restrictions while getting tested 2 times per week.
But, thank God…the world’s sh!tti3st year is finally coming to an end. A few nights ago, I was laying in my room, staring blankly at the ceiling and a thought dawned on me. Every year, between Christmas and New Years’ my dad always prompts the family with a question, “What was the most valuable thing you learned this year?”
Truthfully thinking about how I could answer this question immediately struck me with a wave of anxiety. I did not know how to begin to answer such a simple question. Realistically, how could a whole year have gone by and I never learned a single thing?
A few days had gone by and I was still thinking about the answer to this question. After anxious nights staring at the ceiling thinking of all of the possible answers, these are some of the answers I came up with.
For starters, I learned that online school is significantly harder than in-person instruction. Kudos to anyone who signs up for an online class by choice.
Next, I accepted the fact that at one point or another I would have to embrace the time I would be spending with my family. And I would bet a large sum of money that almost everyone had become closer with their families (we truthfully had no other choice).
Then, I learned that being trapped in the car with my parents, sister, and our dog for twenty hours wasn’t actually a terrible thing. As we traveled from Fairfield, CT to Florida, we learned a lot about each other’s music taste and driving preferences and it is still my most memorable event of quarantine.
Soon after we returned from our stay in Florida I fell in love with a boy (sorry to get sappy here)… I never thought that would have happened in a million years, but now looking back on quarantine it was a time where I was learning a lot about myself from the relationship and I am glad to have had someone along for the ride.
Fifth, I learned to develop a routine. Freshman year was messy for me. The entirety of both semesters consisted of sleep when you can, eat when you’re absolutely starving, wash your face when you remember, shave when you absolutely have to, etc. When I was home, I forced myself into a strict routine because structure was structure and that’s what I really needed to stay sane.
And finally, as we exited quarantine and began a somewhat normal life as school began, I learned how to deal with heartbreak. Said quarantine love story came to an abrupt end and reality hit like a wrecking ball and he realized things just couldn’t be the same (and holy moly did that hurt). Rather than sulking in bed (because I quite literally had no time to waste), I filled my days with reading my favorite books, putting myself ahead on classwork, and binging One Tree Hill with my roommates. In filling my days with distractions, it made the breakup so much easier than any other I have experienced.
But overall, I learned (and am still coming to terms with learning) that despite the uncontrollable lifestyle we have all been forced to become accustomed to, I am comfortable in acknowledging that I am a person who likes to be in control. The uncertainty of the quality of life definitely brought me to this realization, but it has also allowed me to explore the realm of opportunities in which I am in complete control.
2020 was a year to remember, but it certainly will not be missed by me.