This was supposed to be my year. I was graduating high school, going to prom, getting my AA ,turning 18 and going to university all in this year.
In December of 2019, a new virus called the coronavirus ravaged its way through China. I was not concerned.
There was no way I could have known how much it would change the world in the span of weeks. Prom cancelled, graduation cancelled, having a big birthday party cancelled, and I am not even sure that there will be traditional classes when I go to UW Tacoma.
Social distancing and masks have replaced talk of dresses and shoes for prom. Congratulations and anticipation are now “No visitors allowed” and fear.
Spring Quarter was moved online. Places of employment sent people to work from home.
My dad has not been out of the house except for runs and mowing my grandparents’ lawn since February. I have not seen my best friend since April, even though her 18th birthday was two weeks ago.
Forcing myself to focus on schoolwork while everything I have looked forward to and worked for is being ripped away from me is extremely difficult.
This may seem dramatic to the outside observer but the only thing that kept me going during high school and community college was the end. The light at the end of the tunnel.
Once I was out of the tunnel it was going to be celebration after celebration within weeks of each other. All my big milestones achieved.
Now, June will be more masks and sanitizer. I will not get to see my best friend or dance with her at prom.
June will be fear for my grandparents as they go to the store. June will be panicking at the thought of giving any of the residents at the senior living facility I work at coronavirus.
Despite all this fear and anxiety that is coursing through my mind at any given moment, I have been lucky.
No one I know directly has been diagnosed with or died from coronavirus.
I am still going to graduate, and I will one day wear my prom dress.
My dad still has his job and I still have mine. We can afford to eat out and support local businesses.
Everyone keeps telling me that I will have such a good story to tell my kids. While they are correct, being in the middle of a global pandemic is terrifying.
This experience has taught me to be more conscientious of what goes on around me. Now, I notice if people are wearing masks and how close they are to me.
The world after the pandemic will be changed. There is no way to tell how much it will change but it will never be the same.
We are living through history. And boy, does it suck.