A mere two weeks before the world changed before our eyes I was touring colleges half-way across the country. Living life to the fullest I had no reason to believe that I would be writing about my experiences coping and overcoming a global pandemic within a year’s time, yet here we are. The experiences that followed last March will forever be ingrained in the memory of our world, nation, and community.
Reminiscing on the world before Covid-19 is a feeling akin to therapy; a necessary assistance to coping with the immense loss of life. For me, I remember that as cases began to rise across the United States and within our community, I experienced the loss of my grandfather – not from Covid-19, but from other ailments. This feeling dominates much of what I remember from last March, everything else seems distant from my reality. This loss inevitably distracted me from the toilet paper craze or similar pandemic-induced phenomena happening around me.
However, as the norms of everyday life crumbled, I was able to reflect on my grandfather’s experiences over his 90 years on Earth: the Great Depression; having a brother serve in World War II; serving in the Korean War himself; partaking in the Civil Rights movement while attending school in Kentucky, and so much more. Such reflections put the pandemic in perspective.
While the pandemic is unprecedented, generational adversity is not. For decades, each generation has experienced moments in which lives were forever altered, and here in 2020 and 2021, Generation Z has witnessed our own.
For many, including myself, we saw our education disrupted and our future plans forever altered. We saw the vulnerability of ailing health, a striking reminder that every day is a blessing. We saw the ingenuity that we all possess to be active members and problem solvers within our community. Similarly, we saw the power that an individual’s empathy can have in the life of someone who is struggling.
Despite all that was lost I do not bear malice about the challenges of living through the succeeding 12 months. From my peers, neighbors, family, and friends I’ve heard similar recollections, reminding themselves of the lives that we are destined to live. Caught in the craziness that everyday life can be, I, along with many others, saw time freeze. Our ever-so-chaotic lives paused, and we were allowed to remind ourselves of what was important.
As we slowly work our way out of this pandemic with more community members receiving a shot in their arms we will see time pick up again but that does not mean we need to resume the lives that we lived the day before the world shut down around us on March 11. While all have learned greatly from this experience, those in my generation, Generation Z, have been impacted the most and it is subsequently up to us to embrace the lessons learned over the past 12 months.
It is my hope that we learn to pause the craziness of life and put things into perspective every once in a while. Appreciate the small things. Appreciate the big things. Count our blessings. And hold no malice toward our adversity. Like generations before us, we have experienced our own once-in-a-lifetime event and it is truly worth never forgetting.
Editor’s Note: Ryan Doucette, BHS Class of 2021, is a regular reporter for The Bedford Citizen and a contributor to Student Voices @The Bedford Citizen.