Outside the Window: A Teenager’s Reflections on One Year of the COVID-19 Pandemic
- ‘I'm no longer running in circles waiting for something to happen; I'm making things happen.’
It’s officially been one year since the COVID-19 pandemic took over our world. Isn’t it crazy how we wanted it to end, but now it feels like the happy memories we had with our loved ones are coming to an end?
Well, that’s exactly how I feel one year into the lockdown.
I might not know everything about life, but I know that what I’ve lived through is not normal. The “new normal” is wearing masks, standing 6-feet apart, stocking up on toilet paper — who knew the world could go crazy for a roll of paper!
When I was still attending school, I would always disregard the idea of the world shutting down. The only thing that ever mattered before the pandemic was a race for my life, But now I feel like I can live without the fear of being judged or compared.
During this pandemic, I accomplished some of my biggest dreams, conquered some of my fears, and made some of the best memories. One would think that going to Disney World or getting a PS console would be the fondest memories of childhood, but this time taught me to appreciate the smaller things in life. In the past year, the pandemic taught me how to stand up for myself and how to speak with and care for people around me. I realized how much of my life I held in the dark because it never felt necessary to speak up. Now I realize how wrong I was.
This pandemic had its ups and downs. Unfortunately, we lost so many amazing lives — brothers, mothers, sisters, fathers, nieces, nephews, grandparents, and friends. Around the world, people lost that one person that felt like their own. It saddens me to think about how quickly life just ends for an individual. This taught me to not let anyone walk out the door without letting them know how much they mean to me.
The happy parts of the pandemic were small and simple. Even simple can be the best thing you can ever hold onto. I’ve learned how to relax and open up because, during the height of the pandemic, we all feared walking out our front doors. I used to be paranoid going into stores, thinking that one wrong step could lead to a bigger problem.
Now when I look back to the beginning of my freshman year in high school, I can see how much I’ve grown as a person. Living with three other people at home (mom, dad and baby brother) was hard at first, but now I find it difficult not to see them in the house. At times I would want to leave my house because It was hard to be together for so long. We all had a life before Covid. We all had a race in our lives that was a constant reminder to keep going, but Covid was like a stop sign. The one thing that could hold the entire world back.
I didn’t get the chance to graduate middle school, which started my hatred for the pandemic. Now it surprises me to say that I don’t want quarantine to end. I don’t want my life to go back to normal. It feels simple because I understand myself more and more every day. I’m no longer running in circles waiting for something to happen; I’m making things happen.
I learned a lot from Covid. I found out who was really supposed to be there and who I was holding on to. I learned how to stand up for myself and not give in. Most of all, I learned how to cherish the happiness in every memory because they stay for once and then become a memory you smile upon.
I can say that it was a good year to reflect on yourself as a person. It’s strange to see where our world started and where we are standing now. I have this window in front of my desk that I never realized it would be my happy place, but over the past year, every day, I look out the window and notice what I missed. It only takes a window to show you the world even if you’re shut out. This was my way of being out but at the same time eating ice cream and binging friends.
I believe COVID-19 deserves a 4 out of 5-star review because it gave me the best scenic drives, a cheerful Christmas, and the time to understand and appreciate what I was surrounded by. I’m so thankful for the Friday movie nights and the excessive number of blankets used to make forts. I’m thankful for the pasta dinners and brownie competitions. I’m most thankful for what is in front of me today. I never knew it could take a pandemic to fix my 15-year-old life.
Sanjog Kaur Dandona is a freshman at South Brunswick High School in New Jersey.