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  • Susmita

Pandemic Angst

This is a journal entry that I wrote about a year ago. I still find myself feeling this sense of FOMO now though I feel that some of it is alleviated. I'm going to do another post on how I'm dealing with the FOMO in the future but I just thought it couldn't hurt to see where I was back then.

Sometimes I think about the things I would ask my older self if I got a chance to talk to her. I go through this though exercise every now and then or so. I remember what I was like at 16, the things I was going through at the time, and the hopes and plans I had for the future. Back then when I was 16 I remember imagining what it would be like to have a conversation with my 21 year old self, where she would be in life, what kind of person she would have grown into, how she perceives the world. And now at 21, at the other side of the conversation, I can imagine that conversation being disheartening and me glossing over things so that 16 year old me would have some type of hope for the future.

At 16 I remember diving into working on myself and understanding my childhood trauma. Whenever things would get unbearable I would think something along the lines of "hey I need to just get through 4 years of high school and then I'll be free. I can get the help I need, I can become who I'm meant to become, and I can do what I genuinely want to do." I worked really hard in school and I pushed away some of the experiences I guess a lot of my peers would be having, dating, parties, getting in trouble, doing fun crazy shit, things of that nature because in my mind I had a larger vision. I mean, we all know the real fun will happen in college. I can't say that I romanticized college. My expectations were simple. I was going to go to good school, study something I'm interested in, make some friends, have some fun experiences along the way, and then graduate. Or at the very least get out my parents' house and get help for the damage they caused.

UHHHHH............. yeah 21 year old me didn't have most of that. Like I don't know how I would explain the pandemic to my 16 year old self in a way that wouldn't drive her to wanting to jump out of a plane without the parachute.

First year and a half of my college experience was me piecing my life together after getting out of my parents' house. I knew damn well that I didn't turn out fine and that I needed to work on myself to have a foundation of being a stable, functioning adult. The very first day, before my classes even began, at 8 am I went to the health center to do whatever I needed to do in order to get free therapy sessions. The following 3 semesters where emotionally and physically taxing. I didn't have typical college experiences, nor did I have the time or energy to make friends. I thought my college experience was atypical but I had no idea how absurd it was going to turn into. The fourth semester however was when I finally started seeing some of the fruits of my labor. I began feeling like who I was meant to be and I'd say January -March 2020 were probably the happiest moments of my life.

And then I moved back to the unhealthy environment I was raised in and while I didn't revert to who I was before I worked on myself, I acquired a whole new flavor of crazy because of everything that was happening. Everything is online. I live with my parents. I'm paying full price for a college experience I am not even having. And I'm in the constant state of existential crisis because I have no idea what I'm doing with my life.

On one hand, I feel like I haven't aged since this began. I still feel like a 19 year old who turned 20 a few months back. The fact that I can legally buy alcohol doesn't even register in my mind. I feel emotionally frozen in a sense especially because I'm in my childhood bedroom and back in my hometown. It also doesn't help that my parents still treat me like I'm 16. And finally, I haven't accumulated many life experiences that would make me grow, explore who I am as a person, and become more confident and independent.

On the other hand, I feel like this forced me to skip over my youth. Again, I didn't experience much of it in high school because I made college to goal. I didn't get to experience it in year and a half of "normal" college I had. And I'm sure as hell not experiencing it now because I'm basically locked in my room all the time. I guess you could say that I am getting a lot of life experiences and I am growing and exploring who I am as a person through journaling, contemplating, and working through various things, but the life experiences in question are traumatic. In the last year, my family had financial issues, my parents are scared for their lives because they are at the at risk category, my mom's anxiety is on over drive and she takes it out on both me and my dad causing us to be more paranoid about the situation than I guess the normal person, we had our shit stolen and were scared of break ins, we didn't have a steady amount of income (thank god we had savings or else we would be struggling), I had my fair share of health issues and mental health problems so bad to where I ended up in the hospital and had to go to numerous doctors which would've caused us to be in debt if it weren't for our savings and insurance, and finally I'm taking a break from school.

It's like my age has been frozen and interrupted at the same time.

In the thought exercise, I imagine my 16 year old self asking me, my 21 year old self, if things got better, if I found healing, if I made myself a new life that fits me better than the old one. And I don't know how much of the truth I would tell her. 16 year old me hung on to the future hoping that if she worked hard now whether it was in school or on herself that she will have a much better life in the future. I don't know what I would tell her. I guess no not yet, I'll have to refer you to my 26 year old self because things are uncertain now.

I have the same questions now about whether things will get better and I want to ask my 26 year old self. I know my 26 year old self is looking at me from her memories. I'm nervous. I hope to god she doesn't feel the same way I feel about what I would say to my 16 year old self when she looks at me.

Also there are reports saying how this will go on til 2024. I saw a tiktok about a guy my age talking about how he is pissed on how rona basically stole his early 20s and then was like, you know what I'm going to subtract 4 years from my age when this is all over because time is a human construct anyway. Like, I know he is joking, but lowkey, I want to have the same mindset lol.

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