At the time of this writing everyone over the age of 16 is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination in the state of Tennessee. In the United States COVID related deaths and transmissions are declining as a whole. The end is in sight to the isolationist lifestyle required in an age of Coronavirus. These triumphs should be cause for celebration, but why am I so anxious for the future?
Certainly, I am not the only young adult who feels this way. In recent weeks, my social media feed has been peppered with articles having similar titles as this one related to the stress that young people feel toward an impending post COVID-19 world.
What is so worrisome about massive positive change? Maybe the primary stressor is massive change itself, no matter how positive or negative. I have gotten so used to navigating a COVID-19 permeated world that I have forgotten the feelings and conflicts of moving within a “normal” one.
I have become adept at incorporating the actions necessary for a COVID-19 reality into habits that create significant peace of mind. I might have to ween myself off mask wearing and obsessive hand washing, as if a sudden break from these macabre rituals would break my brain.
I have this fear that I might have forgotten how to talk to people over the past year. Wine and dinner out with friends seem dangerously unfamiliar at this point. Even when I watch movies, old movies, and see a crowd of people packed together, I have a knee jerk reaction, a sort of unhelpful stress and a feeling of inclosing doom as if I can’t help but think “what the hell are these people doing?”
Then, there are the “good parts” of a pandemic. I have devoted more time to artistic and creative pursuits. I have formed relationships with people who I otherwise would not know from strangers if it wasn’t for a global virus. I have even grown closer to my family. Will these improvements survive the resurrection of the modern world? There’s no way that everything can work out can it?
Change has penetrated the last year with all chaos and confusion, good and bad aspects. I suppose it is just human to want to avoid the unknown as much as possible, but then I remember what I used to tell myself pre pandemic when social anxiety was more of an immediate problem: press into the discomfort.
I have been obsessively yammering this to myself a lot lately. Even if we are moving from a bad situation to a better one, I doubt if change is ever comfortable. The price of stability is momentary instability, or so I try and believe.
I’m not a life coach. I’m not a therapist. I’m young and confused. I don’t know the answers to the questions I asked throughout the previous 450 words of this article, but I doubt I’m the only one who feels this way and maybe that’s enough to tell myself at night.