When I turned 16, I thought I had my life made. I was finally able to drive and I had so many new freedoms granted to me. I could, with the permission of my dad, go pretty much anywhere I wanted.
For the first couple of months, I drove absolutely everywhere I could and I often took the long way home from school activities, and I even went on a small road trip to Elkhorn for the day. The feeling of freedom was almost indescribable.
Fast forward two months and that feeling of indescribable freedom was stripped away. I’m now confined to my own house and can only leave under special circumstances. I work an essential job at a retirement community, so I have an obligation to stay away from the grocery stores and all other crowded places if at all possible to keep my residents safe. I can no longer go out for late-night diner runs with my friends. My entire livelihood was turned upside down and I, like many other people, have had to find a completely new normal.
For the two weeks where there wasn’t a lot of school work to do and I was getting used to being a social butterfly to an inside person, I coped with my changing surroundings by painting and making friendship bracelets. I colored in coloring books, listened to a lot of new music and a whole lot of One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer and I watched a whole lot of conspiracy theory videos on YouTube.
We’re going in on week four in quarantine and social distancing practices, and I’ve learned a plethora of new things about life and I’ve gained a completely new perspective on what I am going to do when this is all over. I have learned never to take another busy parking lot or hallway for granted ever again, to tell my friends and family I love them in person, and to live life to the absolute fullest every single day. I’ve decided that the first thing I am going to do once I can leave my house will be to get the biggest group of friends I could ever imagine together, and go fill up a restaurant and enjoy each other’s company in-person, and not just over a FaceTime call.
But until that glorious day, all of us are in this together. We aren’t going anywhere, so take the time to call a grandparent, write a poem, and organize the junk drawer you’ve been putting off for the past few years. We have the time.