We have been in lockdown for almost two months now. Two whole months. As a sixth form student, this could have been a time for complete relaxation- all we’re having to do is stay at home (isn’t that what everyone dreams of?) The truth is, it isn’t that easy which I’m sure most reading this will feel mutually. I am lucky enough to attend a good school, which has enabled my school life to carry on almost normally, except my lessons are now via an iPad. However, I am still having contact with teachers (I emphasise this is via technology not in person!) and so the lessons are almost like normal, bar the occasional technological problem we encounter. Consequently, I am still bombarded with essays, coursework and even end of year exams! This forces me to lose a large percentage of my day which is dedicated to school work, but this does enable me to keep busy and my mind stimulated, which is more than can be said for some of the teens whose sleeping patterns are from 7am until 5pm. Having said that, if I didn’t receive my online schooling I might have slipped into that habit.
Although I am keeping busy, I am struggling with the social loss this pandemic has caused. Don’t get me wrong, I would rather miss a couple of parties than risk catching and passing on a deadly virus, but I am sure I still have a right to yearn for what I am missing. By the time we should be heading towards a end of the lockdown, I predict I may have lost three or four complete months of my 16th year, and most of my 17th will have some sort of restriction (I am a July baby!) My ‘loss’ may seem small, but many of my friends’ birthdays are passing by already without any form of celebration, none of us can order a provisional licence which is something every 16 year old looks forward to, and our plans for summer 2020 are in jeopardy. I acknowledge that my problems are very ‘first world’, but when you are looking forward to things for a long time and they are taken away, it does cause upset. These are my last few years as a ‘child’, and I consider myself as a ‘child’ as I do not yet have to look after myself. When I move out next year, I will be alone, only left with bills, a few skills and a reliance upon my independence. Therefore, I intended for my last two summers to be full of everything I may not get to enjoy in the same way in a couple of years. Mirroring the famous quote ‘seize every day’ I want to do as much as I can, appreciating every day, which is sadly now no longer possible. Surely I am allowed to grieve for this small loss?
I miss my friends: a lot. I have various ways of connecting; plenty of social media, FaceTime, online games. The list could go on. Sadly, it isn’t the same as seeing them in person. Even with the restrictions this week being slightly loosened hence being able to see one friend, it is the simple lack of physical contact that is also hard. My family is not a physical one (mum does offer me kisses and cuddles but that is a ‘no thank you!’ from me!) As a result, I now haven’t hugged anyone, besides my teddies, for almost two months. This may not be a big deal to some people, however me and my peers are always hugging, sitting on each other, even barging them in the corridor. Therefore, I am finding it hard to comprehend that we won’t be able to even breach the 2m distance (of course we would but it’s still strange to think about!) I miss their laughs, their smiles, their scents, their expressions. I miss everything about them and I cannot wait for the day we reunite.
My dad works in NHS critical care and he says cases are falling, so as long as we don’t have a second peak, we should be seeing some light at the end of the tunnel soon. My priorities after lockdown are to see my friends and squeeze them tighter than I ever have, see my grandparents and appreciate every moment with them and go to my nearest Nando’s (no explanation needed!) Despite my minor struggles during lockdown, I am doing okay and I am grateful for mine and my family’s health. My sincere condolences go out to all those suffering a loss during this time and I thank our healthcare heroes but also anyone else who is doing their part to ‘stay alert’. Stay safe 🙂