COVID Teens and the Return to ‘Normal’

By: Fiona Ogilvie

OK, so here’s the deal: I’m concerned. For the past 1.5 years (or 10 years, I’ve lost count), we’ve been inside, alone, surrounded by limited conversation, messy rooms, and depressing music. But soon, we’ll be returning to ‘normal,’ whatever that is. Honestly, the last 1.5 years have been the longest years of my life, while also moving past me in a quick blur, as I’m left behind grasping for more. Why am I hoping for more? Why do I yearn for the early days of the pandemic, when we were making whipped coffee and listening to Doja Cat? Because I have no idea what ‘normal’ is; COVID is familiar, it is my normal.

Young woman watching movie in headphones in messy room
Image courtesy of https://www.pexels.com/

The experts are worried about the development of young children, who rely on connection to grow as humans. But what about us, the teens who lost ‘the best years of their lives,’ as my parents described highschool. All I know is, I was a naïve freshman in high school, got really close with my cats, blinked my eyes, and now… I’m a junior.

So how will we return to ‘normal?’ How will we survive not calling people names behind our masks, or getting out of plans by using the “my parents are super worried about Covid” excuse? I don’t think we will. But it’s OK. Of course we’ll survive literally, but our social skills may not. By social skills, I mean the traditional, ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ ‘ma’am’ and ‘mister’ social skills. Of course, I’ll still be saying please and thank you, but manners won’t be on my mind as much as how do I socialize without checking my phone every 10 minutes to avoid awkward silence? No, our grandparents won’t be pleased with our inability to form sentences to their standards, but older generations are always hard to please.

Trendy multiracial teenagers using smartphones in studio
Image courtesy of https://www.pexels.com/

However, since we’re all in the same boat, I’m sure we’ll make it work. Yes, our sentences will contain more TikTok references than any other generation, and yes, we’ll struggle to communicate in-person without the use of emojis, but the world will, without a doubt, remember ‘COVID teens,’ the depressed, progressive, digital natives that the earth needed to survive. Because even though our social skills are lacking, we are hard pressed on healing the earth and its inhabitants. And if we’re talking about the future, that’s what matters most.

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