On the gravity of the times, and your blissful ignorance of it all
Sometime in the distant future, you’ll look back at this moment differently.
You will have conversations with friends and colleagues about how each of you went through this pandemic as children. You’ll tell them what you can remember and what you understood from what’s happening, and see how similar or different their memories are from yours. You’ll laugh while sharing them anecdotes your parents told you about the silly rackets you did during the virtual lockdown.
In school, your health and biology teachers will tell you about this new virus. How it can be spread, how infection can be prevented, and the importance of washing your hands.
You’ll tackle this period of time in history class, too. You’ll discuss its effects and debate how it could have been handled differently. A teacher will ask you to research on the pandemic. You’ll visit internet articles that discuss the causes of the outbreak and the measures society had to employ to stop the spread.
And yes, you’ll find out about the suffering, as well. You’ll read about the figures: the number of deaths, how much the economy suffered, how many people lost jobs, and how many businesses went bankrupt. You’ll read about which government policies worked and which ones didn’t – and how people always suffered when it was the latter.
Someday, you’ll eventually be able to grasp what this all means. You will understand that we are living in a globally historic event that’s life-changing for a great number of people around the world.
But no matter how much you read and are told about it, you won’t really know what it’s like. You will not know how communal uncertainty feels, nor what it means to bear the weight of general anxiety on your shoulders. You will not know the fear that comes from not knowing when this will end, and how, and where, and why.
You will not know how it feels like to tell your children calmly “this will be over soon” while you scream inside, unable to do anything beyond simply willing the truth of that sentence in your head.
And I hope it stays that way. While this virtual lockdown drives a lot of people crazy and the isolation pulls many others down to depression, seeing you go about day by day in blissful ignorance calms my soul. How sweet it would be to be in your place right now.
It'll still be a number of years before you fully comprehend the gravity of the situation.
Until then, keep playing. This will be over soon.