The light at the end of the Tunnel A Covid-19 experience

Johnathon Shannon 8/22/20

Dear Diary,

Covid-19 has changed my life in many ways and has altered my life and most likely the course of history through changing my impact and everyone else’s impact on the world. I say this because no matter how small, everyone’s actions impact others and the world in some shape and form. Covid-19 has made me change many things about my life and has caused drastic changes in which I had no control over. I am not sure whether I am better off now or before the virus due to these changes, some being positive and some negative. Along with the entire world, in some areas Covid-19 has proved to be a nightmare for me and my family and made many experiences far less than pleasant and in turn has negatively impacted my life and my family’s life. However, in other areas Covid-19 has helped me and my family and has positively impacted me and my family. As a whole though, the impact of Covid-19 on me and my family has been far more negative than positive. In the spring of 2020 I had experienced the loss of friends and my boxing family and this has caused emotional pain which has yet to fully pass. 

The journey through Covid-19 has been emotionally painful for me. Waking up one day to find out that you would never see your friends and teachers again was my reality. The sorrow of realizing that you can never experience a true end to High School is devastating. I will never forget when my entire school switched to online learning and I was provided with a false sense of security that school would resume in April.  Then, in a flash that hope was blown away, only to reveal the ugly truth that it was over, there were no more chances to make up with lost friends, no more chances to fix mistakes, and lastly no more childhood. I had lost the last memorable events that make up being a child and would help me transition to adulthood. College was upon me and there was nothing that could be done. It was a blow right to my soul, one that I have not recovered from yet. Losing those precious moments and that childhood security is something I was not ready for and have not fully accepted though I am working through it. 

On the positive side of this situation, Covid-19 has provided me and my family with positive opportunities and has pushed us to make decisions that would have been difficult to make in normal times but became obvious decisions to us because of the pandemic. The number one thing that the pandemic has driven me and my family to do is to move upstate. Covid-19 didn’t leave us a choice because the city was a breeding ground for the virus, so the obvious decision was to move. Living in a small apartment, me, my brother, and my mother had been wanting to get away from the city for many years but had never been able to due to the many ties we had with the city. Our friends were there, our schools were there, and most importantly my mother’s job was located there. Covid-19 changed these things and caused school to switch to online learning, friendships to be lost, and my mother’s job to no longer provide income. We are thankful for this opportunity because had this not happened we would still be living in the city and still be complacent with our previous lifestyle. Because of the move to upstate New York our habits and routines have changed for the better. I am now able to exercise more frequently and work on losing weight while my brother is able to go on walks with me that he never took while in the city. In addition we now have more room than in our apartment and are much more comfortable in our new house than we ever were in the apartment. Also, I have been able to see my uncle, aunt, and my cousins every day because we now live very close to them, after quarantining for a week that is. 

There are many things that I will miss from the city and will not be able to experience, at least until the virus vaccine is perfected. One thing I loved about Bayside New York was my boxing gym. Going to the boxing gym and helping out my coach and also taking boxing lessons was a crucial part of my life and had provided me with purpose. I had a duty to pass my self defence skills onto others and was able to accomplish this through my coach and his gym. Now that the pandemic has forced my family to move I am unable to do that anymore and in turn have lost the purpose that boxing contributed to my life. This change is not permanent because eventually the pandemic will settle down and life will return to normal and when that happens so will my return to boxing. Another thing I loved about Bayside was my school. School also provided a purpose for me and set a routine for me to follow. Waking up, getting ready for school, and doing well at school was a daily routine that became a part of me after following it for the past 18 years of my life. Covid-19 changed that and took away this routine which, I admit, was difficult at first but eventually allowed me to build a new routine, one that I have been following for the past 6 months. This routine includes exercising and interacting with my family, two things that I did not make priority before the virus but have now become a daily blessing. Although I miss my boxing gym, my school, the great food and many other things in Bayside I have come to terms with these losses and have been able to create something new in the devastation like a rainbow after a storm. 

The previous paragraphs covered the spring of 2020 which were about adjustment and dealing with the effects of the pandemic. The summer of 2020 has been about making the best of the situation and working on improving our lives every spare moment. I have noticed many things during the pandemic and the thing that stuck out the most to me was the sense of community that the pandemic evoked. Many people made signs thanking our essential workers for continuing to help the community even at the risk of their health. People in Italy and Spain went out on their balconies and clapped and rang bells at the same time for nights in a row. This sense of community has been very powerful and has also led to people wearing masks and social distancing to protect one another. Although the pandemic has harmed many people it has also shown that people can come together and persevere through hard times, which is exactly what happened during 9/11. As the number of cases have reduced  in previously hard hit states such as New York, the world is slowly recovering from the devastation that the pandemic has caused. It is my firm belief that we as human beings are a resilient species because of our ability to recover from the hardest of times, to get up, brush off the dust and dirt, and try again.  Like a forest after a natural wildfire we come back much stronger and more experienced than before, ready to start anew as we each strive to live our lives to the fullest.