Disclaimer: Before reading the following, please understand that the situation I was given in response to the COVID-19 outbreak was the best possible scenario, and I’m super thankful to be placed in the situation I was. I understand that not everyone was and is as lucky as my family and me. However, the following experiences are struggles my family and mostly myself experienced during the COVID-19 outbreak. The following comments are not meant to be snobby or stuck up; they are simply personal struggles I experienced during the outbreak that affected my “normal” daily life.
March 12, 2020
For me, COVID-19 wasn’t real until the Thursday of our last week in school. That day was exciting because it was the first lacrosse game of the season and I was set out to be starting for my first ever year playing lacrosse. I distinctly remember with about 10 minutes left in 6th period, there were murmurs about spring sports being canceled and I hoped for the best. Unfortunately, with the ring of the bell signaling the passing period, the murmurs were confirmed and game day for the lacrosse team and I was canceled.
March 13, 2020
The next day at school, Friday, was rather strange. Most classes were rather different and teachers discussed their opinion on the likelihood that school would continue and what their classes would look like if we moved to an online platform. Unfortunately, that was our last day in school, and to this day we haven’t returned.
Friday night was pretty normal. Usually, my friends and I meet up and sit around looking for something to do. There were maybe ten of us, a reasonable sized group before the lockdown. My mom actually got pretty mad at me that night. My friends and I decided to go to Lookout Mountain in Golden, Colorado to watch the stars. My mom thought that was a poor decision and that it was time to start taking this pandemic seriously. Even though to this day I disagree that it was a poor decision to go look at the stars in a reasonably sized group while outside, before COVID-19 numbers were remotely high, that was when the virus started to affect me.
March 14, 2020
The next day is a little more blurry to me. I’m pretty sure I went to the gym, and maybe hung with a couple friends. Specifically, I remember a personal trainer at the gym mentioning he didn’t think gyms would shut down. To his surprise and mine, about a week later all gyms and recreation buildings, along with many businesses in the Denver metro area, were shut down.
March 15, 2020
I’ll remember this day forever. On this day, my parents stopped letting me see friends, and put our house under quarantine, a word which before the pandemic I’d struggle to derive the meaning of, and now a word which, unfortunately, is known all too well. I hated quarantine. Maybe for a week it was relaxing. No school, no responsibilities, just YouTube and Netflix for 24 hours, 7 days a week. This got really old, really fast. If you know me, you know I’m a very outgoing person. I’d rather not be alone, and an idea of a perfect day to me is being with all my friends doing something awesome outside. My perfect reality was turned into a fantasy.
March 29, 2020
It’d been maybe two weeks since I’d had social contact. To me, that’s far too long without friends. Everything had been so strange. Our family ordered groceries instead of picking them up ourselves. We hadn’t eaten out in two weeks, which isn’t normal because eating out is usually a fairly typical activity for my family. Finally, I had convinced my mom, and a good friend of mine had convinced his, that it would be okay for us to hangout as long as we kept our social distance. We played pass with lacrosse sticks; however, we then wanted to play basketball, a totally normal, typically smiled upon activity. After I got home and said I had been playing basketball, my mom flipped. She wasn’t excited that we were touching the same ball and were in close contact defending each other. Luckily, I talked her out of banning me from hanging out and was able to settle for playing pass with lacrosse sticks. One other thing I forgot to mention: Typically, I like to hangout for as long as possible, and in quarantine with nothing to do, why not hang out all day. Unfortunately, my mom limited me to pretty much 1 hour of social contact daily. This pissed me off to another level because I didn’t see how time had anything to do with the spread of the virus.
April 3, 2020
This day was like any other. I woke up, watched TV, sat around, did nothing, and finally texted my friend to hang out. We met up at his house, which is less than a block from mine, and took a basketball down to the local elementary school to play. It’s funny how this was almost criminal, and if my mom caught me, I’d be dead meat. Unfortunately, she did catch me. There were two other friends of ours down at the school, and we decided to play 2 v 2. My mom, of course, chose to walk the dog by the elementary school and saw me and my friends playing basketball. She made me go home and was very disappointed. In some people’s opinion, that may be a poor decision. For me, with a healthy family and healthy me, this seemed perfectly OK, and I was pissed it was a criminal act to play 2 v 2 basketball.
During this time, things were better but still weren’t great. The lockdown was still being taken somewhat seriously by most families and kids, and I had built a routine of waking up and doing almost nothing. Something did change in this time, however, with school being reintroduced in online Google Meetings and attached document work (or whatever the class required). Both luckily and disappointingly for those who wished to learn, the first go at online learning in the second semester of the 19-20 school year was treated almost as a joke, and kids actually had fun with it simply from messing with teachers through computers. After about two days, however, school became somewhat of a drag and the workload, while little, was both meaningless and a waste of time. Towards the middle and end of May, summer rolled around and most of my friends’ families and mine eased up on restrictions for the virus to ultimately let us hangout almost as normal. The only difference that held was we were supposed to remain in small groups and only see generally the same people everyday.
June was the best month since February, when things were normal. I was back hanging out with friends, and I really enjoyed messing around since it’d been awhile. Now that I think about it, the feeling of being reunited almost as normal was a well appreciated moment. It helped me remember that you might never truly appreciate something until it’s gone.
Coming from June, this month was anticipated to be even better and in the midst of the summer I knew it wouldn’t let me down. Rather tragically for me, I attended a dentist appointment, and the women cleaning my teeth happened to test positive which was information I learned a few days later. This news sent my parents into panic, and I remember having to come home immediately. I was unable to hang out the rest of that day, which is reasonable considering I could have the virus. The next morning, my dad and I went to get tested at the Pepsi Center. The lady testing us said that we should expect to get our results within 1-7 days. For me this was a drastic amount of time I could lose from summer. I was worried I’d miss one of my favorite holidays, 4th of July, as well as miss out on a week of summer. Days passed, and eager to hear my results, I called every single day multiple times looking for an answer. The calling process was miserable. After calling, you were almost always, unless you called late at night, placed on hold which would last anywhere from 5-40 minutes, just for the person helping to say that your results were still pending. One of my friends happened to get tested from the Pepsi Center, and after about a week he gave up and went back out into the world. When he talked to me, it had been 3 weeks since he’d been tested, and still there were no results. This sent me into a panic. I was going to have to quarantine for 2 weeks because I had never heard about my results. Fourth of July passed. While my friends were out having fun, I spent the holiday locked in my room watching movies and processing how much fun I was missing out on. To me, this was the end of the world. Life had gone from almost greatness to rock bottom. Fortunately, I waited 13 days and finally my results came back negative.
End of July-August 2020
After my scare with the virus, the rest of the summer was as great as possible. I, along with my friends, made the most out of the situation in the world and ended up having a great summer.
End of August 2020
I remember receiving news that school for DPS would not be going back in person at all. At first, I was almost happy with the result because I thought it meant another semester of not doing anything with easy online school. Later, I learned that the school system had been improved and the workload increased substantially. I was pretty sad to find out that a lot of my friends, who go to Littleton, were going back in person two days a week. Even though that’s not the full experience, I’d personally rather do that than what we have now.
These months became a routine. I’d wake up, roll over, and open my computer for another day of online learning. Since I have eighth period off, every school day ends at 1:20 p.m. and I usually then go to the gym or hang out with friends. Around 6:00 pm, I come home and eat dinner, spend time with my family, do any homework, and go to bed. The weekends were like summer. I’d go out and hang with friends and then come home and go to bed. Life was good.
Though the time of writing this is November 2nd, there is already stuff to report from this month. While routines have not yet changed, COVID-19 cases in Colorado are spiking and are at an all time high. Both my parents and I predict another lockdown will occur, but Trump of course said that on November 4th, you won’t hear about COVID anymore. I will be sad if the lockdown occurs, although I will also abide by it because I want cases in our area and across the country to lower significantly in the hopes of finding a solution to the virus. As of now, I hope and pray that one day in the near future, the misery the pandemic brought us will be gone, and life will return to what we remember as “normal.”