If you asked just about anybody, they would probably tell you that a teenager would love being at home, away from school and other responsibilities. That has proved itself not to be the case. Not even a quarter way through this and I am dying to go back to school and have life unpaused. Being home without having to go anywhere might have sounded appealing at first but it definitely hasn’t turned out that way. Everything I was looking forward to has been canceled including a funeral, ceremonies, field trips, swim meets and practices, hockey season, and vacations. I can’t hang out with my friends or even see my extended family. Many of the places that my friends and I like to hang out at have been closed as well.
So far the days without school and my normal interactions have been slow but can turn out to be little adventures. With every bad thing there is an upside. I try to make this time count so I spend more time doing things I claimed “I never had the time for” when we weren’t quarantined. I have developed my love for certain hobbies: things like playing the piano, cooking, going on long walks, sewing, and reading. I have spent a lot of time with my family and together we have deep cleaned most of the house. Now that we have more time together, we have also started family game nights which turn out to be loads of fun. We play our favorite games Sequence, Five Crowns, and mahjong. Well, it helps the days feel more meaningful when we are together.
Then again there are so many that we are missing out on. Now that the governor issued a Stay at Home Order, we aren’t allowed to interact with any of our friends. Even before that, most families had started practicing social distancing so it has been awhile since I’ve seen anyone but my mother, father, or sister. The only form of communication with friends and the outside world is online. Oftentimes communication is through face timing, snap chatting, and texting each other to keep ourselves sane. Nowadays, most teenagers are feeling very lonely and we resort to the media to cure our loneliness. Social media apps like TikTok are full of teenagers voicing their thoughts and feelings about this pandemic and it is nice to hear how others are handling it. Sometimes it can be really funny too.
Another thing that is difficult about being stuck at home is the whole birthday situation. My sister just had her 18th birthday and we tried our best to give her a fun and safe party but it wasn’t as grand as we had hoped. Every year on our birthdays my sister and I are lucky to get a “friend party” as we call it, so we can celebrate our birthdays with our closest friends. That didn’t happen for my sister this year. It sucks that she missed out on that on such a special birthday. Because this will be going on for months, many others aren’t getting to celebrate their birthdays as well. My birthday is all the way in June, which seems so far away, but this quarantine is supposedly ending two days after my birthday. That means my sister, my mom, and I will be celebrating our birthdays at home. It’s different but we make the best out of it. So far it is kind of a fun change of pace with the birthdays. We can order our favorite foods, create gifts, and order great presents online for each other.
Nobody likes missing out on things that they have waited a long time for. Something I am really sad about is the fact that I’m 13 years old and I have already had my last day of middle school. It ended unexpectedly. I was excited to graduate from middle school as the first class to go through all three years but school ended so suddenly and we won’t be able to go back. It’s a scary thought that the next time I physically go back to school, it will be at my new high school.As much as I dislike this, things are definitely worse for my sister. She is a senior in high school and doesn’t get all of the special events she earned. She returned her dress and shoes for prom and it’s unlikely that she gets a normal graduation. She got into college but we aren’t even sure if move in day will get postponed. I feel terribly for all of the seniors who worked so hard to get to their senior year and then they can’t even finish it off the right way. I just hope that they will end up getting the farewell they deserve.
Unfortunately, the future’s uncertain and that is one of the worst parts about this whole thing. Not knowing when this will be over and things can go back to normal is terrible. Even if the deadline for staying at home is pushed back, things will take awhile to go completely back to normal. I sometimes wonder if when this is all over, will handshakes stop being a thing? But the cancelation for all of these major things is for a good reason. Which is to keep us all safe. And that is what we all need to remember.
There are many things that parents can do to help their teens during this time. Parents should make an effort to spend more time with their kids since they are the only people they can talk to face to face. Little things like playing games and going on walks together are really good ways to make this pandemic easier on families. This is a chance to enjoy family time and learn more about each other. Sure things can get tense when you’re cooped up at home with your families, but when it gets that way just try to give each other space and revisit family time.
I can’t think of anyone who likes missing out on all of these important milestones, but at least we know that we are all going through it together. It’s awful but we’ve got to do our part to keep this virus from spreading and keeping ourselves and others safe. This time spent at home is what you make of it so my recommendation during this dreadful time is to not to think of it as a monthly thing but rather take things one day at a time.