By Grace, 18, London, UK
As a high school senior, the coronavirus pandemic made me (at first) very aware of all the things I’m missing out on prom, graduation, and final memories with my friends and boyfriend before we all go off to college. Having spent the past few years in a high-pressure academic environment, I was looking forward to my last semester as a chance to decompress and have a little more fun- so I was naturally disappointed at losing this opportunity. Through this disappointment, I’ve learned a valuable lesson: you can’t wait to have fun, or make memories, because you never know when you’ll lose your chance.
I think this understanding has spread to other members of my generation. For most of our lives, the world has been fairly stable. We have taken a lot for granted, and not stopped to think about how easily things may change. How adaptable we are as humans is inspiring; if we can stay at home to prevent the spread of a virus, work rapidly to make homemade masks and develop vaccines, then surely we can tackle climate change with the same fervour. I also hope this will give us a greater appreciation of the smaller things in life. Spending more time at home has made me miss things I rarely treated as special before, like having lunch out with friends and going out on the weekends. On my walks to school, I always had headphones in, and I pull out my phone even when surrounded by friends. Lately, when I leave the house to walk my dog or to go for a run, I feel more aware of the world around me, and more grateful to be a part of it. I know when I am back in my normal life, I will hug my friends a little bit closer, and slow down more mindfully.
One of the biggest advantages of quarantine is the time I have. Usually, I rush through my days and I rarely have time to actually do the things I like doing. To distract myself from the stress of the news, I have been waking up and doing workouts in my garden. On afternoons I don’t have class I have been doing yoga in my living room and reading through books which have long been ignored on my shelf. Most importantly, I’ve had time to practice gratitude, reminding myself of the whole world waiting for me when I am able to go out again.