I still remember that day, the day everything changed exponentially, the day everybody realised the worst was happening, the day the world, and life as we knew it, was hidden under a cloud of fear, frustration, and depression, to name a few. At the time I was in university, at the tail end of my final semester, and I was depressed, and pressurised to the limit. I was feeling no inspiration, which is probably the worst state to be in for a creative writing course, and I had no enthusiasm for anything, particularly my course. Consequentially, I had been procrastinating, and I had deadlines, I had a dissertation that I had barely started, and I had assignments that demanded material which I felt unqualified to create. Because of all this, I decided to drop out of university for the year, and retake my final semester next year.
The night before I left, I stood outside, vaping in the still warm mid-March evening, and thinking about my future. This was a change I hadn’t imagined in my wildest dreams, a sharp twist in the backroad of my life, that I hadn’t seen coming until it was staring me in the face. I would have to find a job, I would have to become a “real adult”, whatever that is. I was barely thinking about the other reason I was going home the next day, the reason that effected every single student and faculty member of the university, for the next day, everyone else was leaving campus for another, more pressing reason. this time next week, the whole of campus would be a waist-land, as lockdown measure would be put in place, and society would be hidden beneath a dark black shadow.
On that night in mid-March, I was concerned about my future. I knew I was falling, but back then, I believed that the reliability of life’s cycle would be there to trust me, and cocoon me in the infinite circulation of waking, work, Skyping with my friends overseas, and sleeping. My concerns were my own concerns, and I was caught up in the blissful naivety felt by many at the time. I couldn’t imagine then, that I, and everybody else, would be facing the nothingness of lockdown, the quiet intensity of sitting with my family, wrapped in the prime minister’s latest announcement regarding the coronavirus, the hope and anticipation in the early days, waiting for him to lift the lockdown, and announce that we had beaten the virus, and the empty acceptance that came with knowing that we’d all have to find a new normal, and accept the presence of the coronavirus into our lives.
There have been so many people this year, who has suffered way more than I have. Now, my concerns mirror the concerns of every single person’s. Strangely, this is one of the few times we are all united in that sense, and yet we’re still seeing division in everything. We’re still seeing prejudice, still seeing groups of people pitted against each other, still seeing people only thinking about themselves and showing little regard for others. This has been a year of suffering, whether it’s the disappointment of having all your plans dismantled, the panic of trying to provide for yourself or your family in these uncertain times, or the absolute worst eventuality of contracting covid-19 and being forced to deal with the complications.
The long-term effects of this pandemic is perhaps even more worrying. People my age are scared of the economic consequences of the pandemic, and what it’ll mean for all of us. Society is being completely dismantled and, life the tower in the tarot deck, crumbling and rotting and becoming completely unrecognisable to the tall and indestructible facade that it once was.
This is an obvious conclusion to make, after-all, you only have to look at the news to realise that society is not okay right now. But just because society has been dismantled, doesn’t mean it’s dead. As two world wars have shown us, society bounces back, society overcomes, society grits its teeth and gets on with things, and however long it’ll take, society comes out victorious.
On a personal level, it can be so easy in these times to fall into an abyss of hopelessness and dread, but everything is temporary, every single thing. Every animal, every plant, every season. Life is a never-ending cycle. There are times when it feels like we’re living underneath a beautiful vast rainbow, and we are inching closer and closer to the pot of gold which waits within our grasp. Then, something can happen which turns the rainbow into a big black cloud which seems to go on forever. It can make us believe that we will never be happy again, that life is hopeless, but whilst happiness is temporary, so is sadness and fear, and all of those things create the exquisite landscape of our humanity. Pain is just as important as happiness, because if we only had one and not the other, our lives would be imbalanced. We wouldn’t be able to see the bigger picture, we wouldn’t be able to empathise, and without fear and sadness, we wouldn’t be able to truly appreciate the beauty and abundance of happiness. But happiness always comes again, eventually.
No one knows how long covid is going to be part of all of our lives, but there will eventually be a time where society will have won this war. Society will be rebuilt, lessons will be learned, and eventually, this moment in time will be written about in history books, a distant memory, yesterday’s problem. There’s no point looking back, because the past cannot be re-written, but in the end, there’s still a future worth living for, and every single day brings us closer to that future.