Yesterday, my friend sent me a message wishing me a ‘happy birth-month’. For a second, I was confused before I realised that it actually was July. Turns out, I’m one of the many who hadn’t realised we had entered July… This year has gone exceptionally fast. Although I’ve had many days sat in my bed, or at my desk, or in front of the TV wishing the days would go faster, overall the year has flown by. It has now been 100 days since lockdown. To put that into perspective for myself, in 100 days time, we will be in October, which should feel horrifically far away, yet the speed of time at the moment, makes it feel somewhat closer than normal… I wouldn’t go as far as saying I am one of those ‘changed’ people over the lockdown period, although I do seem to be twice as tired despite often acquiring double my normal amount of sleep?! I haven’t seen most of my friends and family in months, I haven’t been to a shop since the lockdown was announced, and I’ve only been to school once, in the past 4 months, something which many of us would have previously deemed a dream. In terms of changes in myself, I haven’t really noticed anything that significant, but I think my opinion on a lot of topics and issues has definitely shifted. With all the extra time for reflection, I have been able to reflect upon the world, and watch all the major events of the year unfold, alongside having the time to get involved with issues I am passionate about. As a result of this being a time of crisis, the media is filled with stories of topics often previously overlooked, as people look to areas to dedicate their time to. In 2020, there’s no excuse to not become involved.
For me, the most prominent lesson is undoubtedly to follow the traditional saying; ‘expect the unexpected’. Last year, there was a buzz around 2020 and the great things it was going to provide, most likely due to the satisfying appearance of the number. Therefore, it was almost impossible for anyone to predict the torment this year would provide (although maybe we should have taken a bigger hint from World War III almost being triggered on the third day of 2020…) That being said, it is hard to always be grateful for the life you are living, due to the daily struggles many people can face. However, I think after this is over, we will at least hug people a little tighter, party a little harder and smile a little more.
I have also remembered the importance of your voice. Particularly over the past few months, the power one voice alone can have is incredible; silence IS deadly. Undoubtedly, the forefront movement has been the #blacklivesmatter campaign, which has grasped global attention, as the people have had enough and we are demanding justice! It has reminded me how vital it is to keep shouting about what is wrong, keep demanding change and to start keeping uncomfortable issues at the front of conversation. Although it took an innocent, Black man’s death to spark the current movements, people started to really fight and we are seeing change. Society is still ruined by injustice and we are no where near done, but we are seeing advancements and this is evidently due to the simple use of our voices. During my free time, I admittedly spend a lot of it on social media. Usually, I would browse through my friends’ selfies, watch entertaining videos on YouTube, or find a cute picture to upload to my profile. Of course I still do all of this, but now my feed is also filled with places and people that need help, stimulating debates, activists’ profiles and informative posts. Instead of seeing a post about a humanitarian crisis and liking the photo and moving on as I previously may have done, I now ensure I share the post, sign any petitions listed and donate to any places I can. I’ve changed my perception of social media being purely for models, sharing my social life and entertainment, and I’m now using it as a platform for my voice and a place for education.
Perhaps my favourite lesson I have learnt is the power of my own generation. Obviously, my generation has always hyped each other up about our ‘elite’ humour, fashion and general lifestyle, however I’ve never properly looked into the extent of the strength we have. Of course, I would never disrespect or undermine any other generations (my grandparents are some of my biggest role models) but I think our generation have been brought together and I may even go as far to say that we hold a bond. I see us to have compassion, determination and we show a refreshing sense of youth (arguably this may deteriorate in years to come…) Most significantly, the role social media has played in our lives, has enabled us to all connect, which fuels that sense of togetherness. Just the other day, thousands of teens and young adults, used the app ‘TikTok’ to boycott one of Donald Trump’s rallies. People were able to participate from all over the world, uniting to bring down one of the world’s biggest monsters. After images were released of the poorly attended rally and Trump’s hurt expressions, social media erupted almost into a ‘virtual party’. The sense of achievement was felt through the generation, and reached even those who couldn’t take part. Although this may have been a one time thing, the fact it worked brought a feeling of power to my generation and it will be interesting to see if this carries on in the future (I won’t disclose details as I’d rather not be chased by the FBI…)
This is most certainly the year for challenge, exploration and unpredictability, and I am sure there will be lots more to learn as the rest of the year unfolds. 2020 has shown me the importance of extracting the good from everything, which is why I have been keen to devise lessons from this often daunting year. I hope the lessons we have seen this year will resonate with us in the years to come, and hopefully 2020 is a new beginning. It may be odd to be saying this in July, but people have even been saying it since March: bring on 2021!