Coming to terms with life under lockdown


Graphic by Abby Fleming '20

Staying at home proves more difficult than it initially seemed, even for introverts.

When Westporters found out it would be necessary to social distance to prevent the spread of COVID-19, I wasn’t worried. I have introverted tendencies and I like to think I’m an expert when it comes to being happy at home. So, while I worried a lot about our community’s health, I was confident in my ability to do my part and stay home. However, my social distancing experience surprised me and took a greater toll than I expected.

During the first two weeks of being home, something strange happened; I couldn’t listen to music anymore. My phone and Apple music were working, but I would play any song and it would remind me of something from my “old life,” which would make me so sad I had to shut it off.

Any song I picked had a memory attached to it; driving my brother to school and him skipping everything on my playlist, dancing with my friends to songs we know every single word to or getting ready for school and the certain songs I would use to get myself out of bed. All of my favorite music made me upset, because it flooded me with memories of what I was missing. 

I didn’t think I would be sad about missing graduation or prom–or even school– because those things don’t compare to what our world is now facing. But every time I was reminded of those events or of life before social distancing, it made me more sad. I imagine a lot of people, especially seniors, are struggling with grief over the rest of their second semester.

I feel like something was taken from me, which isn’t really the case. Nothing ever guranteed me a normal life and a normal senior year; I’m not owed anything by the world. But it’s hard to shake the feeling that I was robbed. What’s even more upsetting is that I feel guilty for grieving for my senior year when people have it exponentially worse. So on top of being upset about my senior year, I’m upset that I’m upset because it makes me feel guilty.

The main thing I’m struggling with is that its hard to picture moving on to college or anywhere else without the closure that we were supposed to get from our second semester events. It’s hard for me to cope with the fact that the next time I set foot in a school, it won’t be Staples, it will be a college filled with people I don’t know in a city that I don’t know. 

Coping with all of those feelings is really hard, and nobody seems to have any answers for me or any other senior. The internet offers suggestions, like meditation and journaling, but nothing can make up for the experiences we won’t get. 

There is no replacement for what we’ve missed, but there is something else. There’s the fact that we’re a part of a historical event, and our class, instead of telling stories about prom or graduation, will get to tell future generations how we survived a worldwide lockdown and a deadly virus. 

Again, this doesn’t replace anything. It doesn’t even feel like a big deal right now because we’re too busy going through it to have perspective. I would still trade my ability to witness history for a normal graduation in a second, but it makes me feel better to know that although I’m missing a milestone in my life, I’m experiencing a much bigger one in the world’s history.