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Are we wasting our youth away in the pandemic?

Let’s talk about the long term impact of living in a pandemic as a young adult today.

With the onset of March, we are officially moving towards year 3 of the pandemic and the third anniversary of what we thought would be a 2-week break from everyday life. It is also my birthday month, so we are also moving towards year 23 of my existence(Oof.) That means that I turned 21 right before the pandemic exploded, making this my third pandemic birthday. It also means that I have lived almost all of my 20s entirely in the pandemic.

Your 20s are a monumental time of your life, the one many people refer to as the “best years” of their lives; when you’re at your prime and thriving and just living life to the fullest. Obviously, that has not been the case for me and the people of my generation, with most of our 20s spent dealing with a once-in-a-lifetime disaster. I don’t doubt that the loss of these pandemic years is felt by everyone across ages, I am however choosing to just ‘me, me, me’ this conversation today and focusing on what this means for me and my generation, which is something I have been ruminating on for quite a while. (It is my birthday, after all)

There are a lot of milestones in your early 20s that people my age have absolutely missed out on the ‘real’ experience of. I never had a final year of college in person. I graduated online. I did my first internships at home. I started my first job a year ago while working from home and I have not seen my actual office to date. This is just my experience and just trivial little things, but it is a loss I feel quite acutely. You can’t exactly compensate for life experiences in any way, all you can do is experience them.

I have realised that there is a sort of contradicting maturity and immaturity in the generation coming of age in these times. The maturity of course comes from having seen and lived through rough times, understanding the value of what everyone took for granted before, realising what really matters at the end of the day. The immaturity, in contrast, is a natural consequence of missing out on essential social interaction within the last 2 years and ‘proper’ experiences: graduation, first jobs, first homes and more.

The longer the pandemic has been dragging on, I have been more and more worried about this: Are we wasting our youth away in the pandemic? The best years of our lives and their ‘prime’ are just passing us by. I have not mentally processed even being 21, yet I turn 23 in a couple of days. While I was speaking about this with a friend, she said something and it quite stuck with me because it was brilliant. She said- “This is not how we were supposed to grow up.” Supposed is the keyword here. Things were supposed to be different, our lives were supposed to look different right now.

But the fact remains, that this is how we are growing up. This is our reality, and likely will be for a while now. This is our generation-defining experience, as many have had before us and will have after us. I wonder what moniker they will come up with to refer to our generation. What books and media will come out of this. Living through history is a truly bizarre experience and one that I hope to do less of going forward. (Please)

Acceptance of the situation is clearly Step 0 here, so as I turn a year older that is what I am hoping to take forward with me. Acceptance for what things are like, drive to take my life from here to where I want it to be and gratitude for all the good in my life at the present moment. So on that note, here’s me signing off as a nearly 23(but if you adjust for the pandemic, actually 21) year old. Have a good day. (Final hot take: The whole age adjusting thing should really become a common practice, socially.)

THIS POST’S QUESTION: Do you feel like you are losing years because of the pandemic? Comment below with what you think about it, I’d love to hear from you!

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Growing up: Roaring 20’s

Let’s talk growing up this March, as I officially bid adieu to teenage. It’s finally D-Day today.

Hello everyone. Today, the 10th Of March 2019 is my 20th birthday. I have now existed for at least 2 decades,240 months,7300 days,175200 hours,10512000 minutes and 630720000 seconds. That is a long, long time. Today’s post is for all intents and purposes, my birthday post, where I look back, look ahead and at now, as well. Let’s begin.

20 years ago, I was a tiny, crying, very red baby just fresh into the world. It was still a whole another century and the world sat on the cusp of the 21st century with many hopes and dreams for the wave of modernity it represented. It was still the 90’s, the era of good television, great music and even better clothing. The 2000s were almost upon us, with their nightmare-inducing fashion choices, still good television and still decent music. It was a much simpler time.

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20 years hence, I am not-so-tiny, still crying, red no longer, very much an adult and already a little bit over the world. We are nearly 2 decades into the 21st century, which is running at such a pace that each decade feels like a century in itself. The world is, in some ways a better place but still, a work in progress with so much left to fix. It is a very complicated time.

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Not much has changed.

In these 20 years, I have learned and experienced so much. I have learned to talk and walk and eat and jump and run and so much more. I have completed 15 years of schooling,2 years of college and am so much wiser. (Questionable)I have trained in dance for 12 years and I’m still dancing. I have been to 9 countries,2 continents and have travelled to and seen a sizeable(yet tiny) chunk of the world. I have read and watched beautiful stories. I have opinions and thoughts and likes and dislikes. In these 20 years, that very red baby has become a person.

Turning 20 is a monumental birthday. It signals the end of another decade as well as of adolescence. I have grown a lot in this decade as well as my teenage years(Perhaps not in height but mentally yes) but I am honestly delighted to say goodbye to my teenage and all the ‘joys’ that puberty brings. I can, however, no longer blame my hormones for my behaviour, which is a tragedy. Thank you teenage, for making me the strong-willed woman I am today.

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20 for me is a birthday full of hope. I am finally entering my 20’s, the peak of my youth, the beginning of the years in which I find the life I will live henceforth. I have no idea where I will end up and this is the starting point. I will finish my formal education( Education itself is lifelong, only formally will I be done), I will get my first actual job(I have actually had a non-paid writing job for a not-for-profit organisation already), I will live in my first house, I may even get engaged and/or married!  How crazy is it that all these milestones of my life happen in just these 10 years!

All these are such “grown-up” things in my head and hence I find myself struggling a little with the concept of growing up around this birthday. I am no longer a “barely-adult” adult, now I am a real one even if I don’t necessarily feel like one. I want to take my 20 years of existing, take the best out of them and take it with me as I enter this phase of my life. I would like some more optimism, as the pressure of adulthood, as well my teenage rebellion, has taken quite a lot of it away already. I would like to know it’s okay to depend on people sometimes, okay to miss people and so great to feel love and be loved. I want to hope and have childlike imagination with responsibility and courage. With all this and much more, I launch into my roaring 20’s, here I come!

THIS POST’S QUESTION:  Are you going to/have turned 20? What did/are you feel(ing) like? Comment below with what you think about it,I’d love to hear from you!