The past 7 months have been rife with the chaos of the final year of high school— the typical sense of premature nostalgia paired with uncertain hope for the future.
When we were forced back inside for online learning, there was little to do except compromise and count the watery days as the pages of the calendar slipped by. Yet even as the mornings grew dull and the sun became the only face I could see, a sense of gratitude began to well up inside of me— things that were normally taken for granted were now held onto more tightly than ever. I was gripped by the feeling that all of the little things we had lost were somehow part of a much larger experience: normalcy.
In a way, the sound of my friends’ laughter at lunch, my family’s laughter at home, and the balmy spring breeze had always created a cacophony of happiness— and those very sounds found their way back inside my home. When the world outside grew too smoky to navigate, we used google hangout to talk, held virtual tea parties, and built new worlds online to compensate.
Restrictions eventually eased up, but the world that unfolded was definitely different. Our parents watched us graduate online, and our school formal may not be happening. And every holiday, concert, and plan has been cancelled or greatly altered. There is the lingering fear in all of our minds that maybe the world will never be the same, that maybe all that’s left to do is count our numbered days and reminisce for what we’ve lost.
But the world is still here, isn’t it?
One of the things that I forced myself to do in quarantine was to go outside every day. As it turns out, immersing yourself in the rustle of the trees and the soft sounds of the creeks or the ocean while listening to the birds and holding the sunset in your hands, is a brilliant way to hold out hope.
We adapt and we grow. And no matter how this pandemic turns out, I know that our youth and our best years aren’t in the past just yet. We are here, now, and we are learning to embrace what we have, even amidst the unthinkable.
Written by: Jess Best