Adulting during a global pandemic


Ellen McDonald, Managing Editor

Just a few months ago, I turned 20. I quickly realized that the “adulthood” I thought I entered when I turned 18 was child’s play. This is the big leagues. To make it more stressful than it already would have been under normal circumstances, I excited my teen years during a global health crisis. 

I thought my twentieth birthday would have been a big gathering of all my friends, but it was actually, me in a mask, scared that I might die. It was not at all what I imagined. 

But that is extremely selfish of me to complain about. There are people grieving from the loss of a loved one and families suffering from job losses and the idea of not being able to feed their children. Here I am saddened by the fact that my birthday was not what I had expected. 

When most people begin to “adult,” they start paying their own bills, living on their own and filing their taxes without their dad telling them what to put and where. After COVID, take all of that and add around a hundred new problems. 

No amount of planning on my part can prevent the world crumbling around me. No amount of ignoring the awful things happening right now will make my life any easier. 

The world is screaming, and it demands to be heard. 

I think that after living through 2020, the term “adulting,” holds a whole new meaning. Now, those of us lucky enough to be on the precipice of adulthood see the world for what it is. 

The gradual tide of our youth is no longer in sync with the moon, it is going at its own, harsh pace. I did not get to say goodbye to adolescence. I had to grow up and handle whatever life threw at me with no warning. 

There is no longer the stability and promise of being financially independent, that was proven when many lost their jobs or graduated with no guarantee of employment. 

Simple tasks like taking a shower, eating breakfast and putting on “real” pants seem pointless when all of my meetings and a majority of my classes are on Zoom. The cause for “adulting” has been taken from me. 

Every time I go into a grocery store, I have to constantly be aware of my surroundings and how close I am to others. I must consider the foods I get and if they will be practical for if I have to quarantine or if we go into another lockdown. 

Before this, my worry was “do I have enough in my bank account to buy a loaf of bread?” Now it’s “do I have a mask to protect myself from a virus that could kill me?”

When the world feels like its caving in on you, it is hard to fight back. But that is where “2020 adulting” comes in. 

I think that the idea of “adulting” should now be the accomplishment of being kind enough to walk out of your door every day with a mask on your face. The mature thing to do is to look past your political beliefs and personal ideas to get to the realization that you hold the power to save thousands. 

“Adulting” is now the act of selflessness. Put the needs and well being of others before your own, because you do not know how catastrophic the lack of a mask could be on the person sitting next to you. 

Another new trait of “adulting” is being okay with not knowing what is going on. There have been days that I have been so confused with the world around me that I chose to ignore it. It is hard to do things when you cannot see an end in sight or when you have lost track of your goals. 

If 2020 has taught us anything it is that even when your path is swept from under your feet, you get back up again with everything in you. When you can’t see a path, you make one. 

The world will one day go back to normal, but it will never be ready for those of us who had to “adult” in 2020.