Coming back into reality after a year and a half in isolation is an...adjustment. Don’t discount it.
In March of 2020, I was nineteen and a sophomore in college. I had just gotten out of a breakup and was still finding my feet with friends at my university. I was a baby.
Cut to devastating, giant, global pandemic later:
I’m twenty-one and a rising senior. I have a graduation date set and have to start planning for post-grad life. I’m coming back to a university, and a version of myself, that feels so young and innocent but at the same time, miles ahead of me.
Coming back from a year and a half of being completely online, after so much pain and trauma, is an extreme adjustment. I have to come of age for a second time.
The entrance into a world that feels like it has aged without you is our generation's coming-of-age story.
A coming of age story usually follows a character’s transition from childhood to adulthood–think “Ladybird” or “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”). They’re stories about the upward swell of becoming a real person who loves and exists in society. Now imagine if right after Ladybird went to school, the whole world shut down and she was forced to go to her NYC school online, in her parents' house. Imagine how much that would have messed her up. This insane event put a tailspin on all of us coming into ourselves, who we are, who we love, and what the future holds.
Coming back into reality, I feel the same anxiety I felt in ninth grade coming into high school. I’ve thought about what I am going to wear, how I’m going to act, who I’m going to be. It feels childish like I should be secure of myself by now. But even if I, or you, have ‘come of age already, we have not come of age into this world of 2021, where so much has changed.
The next few months, or years even, are going to be about becoming acquainted with the world again and our place in it. It’s gonna be weird and uncomfortable but that’s what makes coming-of-age stories good. The rockiness is what makes the story.
So go easy on yourself. Go meet the world again. Say hello. This is your story. Savor it.