Since we started to be in the grip of the pandemic, I wondered how I’m going to remember this time: as the chaotic Corona year, as a life filled with insomnia, insecurity and limitation, including narrowness and loneliness, or as the year of being close to my family and moving my career further along. As a year with many shared laughs, new relationships, Zoom weirdness and long walks with my daughter. Will it become one year of many, details losing their sharpness quickly or a year that will become ingrained into my soul and memories?

It’s just a year

That was my first thought when I reflected on all the things that would disappear this year. I wondered about the parents afraid of losing one school year. One year in the life of children, some of them will have 100 years or more. A small share of their lives. But, a year can be a lot. We traveled the world for a year and it felt like a long time. When people are unemployed for a year, it feels like an eternity. Just like being sick for a year. A year-long sabbatical is an opportunity to refresh your soul, develop new perspectives and then returning to a world that barely changed. Many adults choose this option to gain distance to their daily patterns, to better understand how they want to live the rest of their lives. While the pandemic was an abrupt and unwelcome break, many adults used it as an opportunity to rethink their future and better understand what’s important and what’s not. The difference between children and adolescents: Adults have the luxury to create their own mind space to think about post-pandemic changes. They understand life is about peaks and valleys, things will fall into place at one point.

For young people, time stands still in a different way. Their life is forming, the future wide open and the relationship to it more fragile since they don’t have enough life experiences to reflect on. Lived experiences don’t provide the security blanket yet to look optimistically at the future. In addition, young people are more dependent on societal structures of school schedules, vacation and tests. They rely on their school schedule to tell them what to do, where to go, how to behave. Sure, it’s a restricting corset but it provides support and reasons to get up in the morning. Every day counts for young people and we have to be more empathetic when it comes to their Corona experience. It’s not enough to say there will be many more years and when they are 90 this phase will be almost forgotten. To develop a feeling for time, to put this year into perspective requires this: time.