Ever since my first solo trip to Manhattan, all I’ve dreamed of is getting out of Connecticut. I wanted the concrete jungle more than anything in the world, and all of the possibilities that came with living in such a city. This summer I had plans to explore areas of New York I had only before seen online, or pinned on the moodboard in my room. I was ready for an urban adventure: to meet new people, eat street food, and get lost in the lights of passing cars and trains. Little did I know, I (along with the rest of the world) was about to be slapped in the face with an unforeseen pandemic…
Packing up my bags at school, and heading home to western Connecticut, I had no idea what was actually coming for us. I was prepared to be back on campus this spring; to finish the semester the same way it started, yet as we all know, that wasn’t the case. The idea of being cooped up in my room for the unforeseeable future was terrifying. As an extrovert, the thought of limited social interaction for more than a few days was a genuine nightmare turned into a reality. I couldn’t bear the thought of all this, and while I understood the importance of social distancing, I needed to get out and do something… so I got in my car, and drove.
It’s funny how you can grow up in the same neighborhood, spend 18 years of your life living in the same place, and still have so much to discover! These joyriding antics may have once felt aimless and trivial, but soon became much more. My car took me to open fields, to rivers with rapids, to farms with orchards, and lakes with wakes. I spent time listening to new music, and discovering new artists, all while blasting both with my windows down.
Being home no longer felt like a burden. Taking the time alone to go out and really see the place I’ve lived all this time, was yes, a result of the sudden and imposed quarantine, but an experience I am so grateful to have had. I still yearn to sleep with the sounds of a city at my doorstep, but also see this old cowtown, now in a new light. To look through my sunroof and see the stars; an open sky not yet concealed by the smog and haze of a cityscape, is a pastime I once took for granted, but now appreciate as a luxury that my dream world will never offer.
Recent events have changed my mind about the future. Where I once saw progress, and motions towards a forward-thinking time to come, I now am forced to question the environment I live in and the people in charge of it. With each new morning comes new good news, soon to be washed away by an afternoon of unfortunately familiar inequality, hypocrisy, and ignorance, leading us to a night of online arguments and tangible wars. I am living in a world our grandchildren will read about in school. These are unprecedented times where quite honestly, I haven’t found my place yet.
I am young, but with a mature to-do list, like many of my peers. It is my generation that is going to implement effective change and truly make our world a better place; a frequent thought that keeps me motivated to figure out how I personally can make a difference.