This winter was a long one—it first took too long to get started in earnest and then stretched into March after giving us a taste of spring for a couple days.
Thanks to some coming-of-age books and movies, I am very much in the mood to enjoy this season, especially by learning the names of flowers. I am, ultimately, a romantic at heart.
It is still important to remember that this March marked the two-year anniversary of COVID-19 measures being put in place in Waterloo Region.
It was Mar. 13 when the University of Waterloo, where I was then a student, sent an email stating it was closing for a week. It did not reopen while I was a student. Suddenly, my university experience was over.
On the last day of high school, we didn’t do any work in our classes and I gave presents and thank you notes to my teachers. University semesters usually ended with study periods preceding exams and final hang out sessions before friends went back home for the break.
My fourth year had none of that. My last year of school ended abruptly with a final journal club for a topic I never did understand.
I spent the next few weeks working on my final essays and thesis, with my entire room covered in books and papers and myself either asleep or working on the floor in the middle of it all.
Time and space seemed to have lost their once rigid meaning. My blinds and door remained closed and I woke, worked, ate and slept with little regard for what the clock read.
And then it was done. I got my degree in the mail.
All of that is to say, I understand the desire to go back to normal. With spring just beginning and regulations being eased, it is very tempting for me to finally go back to doing all the fun things I did back before the pandemic. It was mostly wandering around the city according to my whims alone, but it was fun.
However, I know that would be irresponsible. Just because we are exhausted does not mean the virus is done with us. Just because it is less likely to cause death doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous.
As such, I continue to stay home unless it is necessary to leave, I continue to socially distance and to wear my mask and nag my family to wear theirs. It is annoying and I don’t enjoy it, but it is what I hear the medical professionals saying is best.
When the pandemic began, I and my friends, all aged 19 to 22, had decided that we would make the best of our 20s in the 2020s. We wanted to travel, to party, to be irresponsible before we had to start truly being adults. Now, more of my friends are graduating, one is married and the rest of us are working full or part time. And now, we can’t afford to be irresponsible because, as we learned from a very dire situation, our actions have direct impacts on those around us. If we are irresponsible, we could seriously harm others, be they friends, family or strangers. Sure, we will have to condense the years we have to enjoy our 20s in the same spirit as the Roaring 20s from the last century, but I would rather wait than risk causing harm to so many others.
At TCE, we continue to mask and maintain social distancing. We hope that the pandemic will soon pass and we can grow form this experience, but let’s continue being cautious until we can be sure this is over.