It is unquestionable that COVID-19 has heavily impacted not only our nation, but the entire world. I have to be frank, when all of the major media platforms began explaining what COVID-19 was and what the projected outcomes of this virus were, I was struck with fear because nothing is more chilling than the unknown. I tried my best to remain positive, and stay focused at work and on all of my responsibilities. Reality set in the moment my place of employment announced we would be closing without a formal plan in place or a return date. I spent the first few days of isolation very afraid, confused, anxious, angry, and I yearned for a solution to appear from thin air but that didn’t happen. As the second full week approaches, I am now focused on getting through this pandemic with a smile on my face.
Social Distancing? Yeah I know, that sounds intimidating, doesn’t it? Remember when I said, “Nothing is more chilling than the unknown?” This is a great example of that exact point. Social distancing sounds like a fancy way of saying you are going to be separated from all of your friends and the things you love to do. Contrary to that popular belief, social distancing is undoubtedly the most important duty we have as a nation to uphold right now. We are all susceptible to this virus and could easily transmit it to one another. Thousands could be affected in a matter of hours, so being cautious of where we are and who we are around could literally be a matter of life and death.
Yes folks, it’s that serious. Nevertheless, have no fear, the truth is right here. You can still enjoy yourself, keep in touch with your friends and family, and stay healthy while the nation works on resolving this pandemic. My advice, especially if you are a young adult experiencing homelessness, is to remain as connected to your peers and support systems as possible. This is a battle you don’t ever have to face alone. Myself and my peers on the National Youth Advisory Council stay connected using technology year-round since we all live in different parts of the United States. Through the use of technology, we share our updates, affirmations, struggles, advice, jokes, and are a support to each other. You can still connect with your peer community and adult support system while practicing social distancing, but using technology. We all continue to face our own individual hardships, but as youth with lived experiences we have the advantage of recognizing how far we have come and grown as individuals and leaders. This sense of panic and the fear of the unknown seem all too familiar, but we have overcome those circumstances before, we can overcome this too!
I recognize that this time is difficult and there are days where you wonder how much further you can push before you can’t push anymore. Let me assure you that you are not alone and you will get through this. As an optimist, I want to send everyone off with a reminder that although this time isn’t ideal, it is YOUR time and you should take full advantage of every moment you have to reflect and replenish yourself. Turn away from everything negative on social media, stop wondering “what if,” stay focused and take this opportunity to search for your purpose. Many of us have lost the essence of who we are and although the media has definitely painted the picture of this entire pandemic being negative, we can turn it all into something positive, something purpose driven, something transformative. The hardships you are going through today, will not determine where or who you will be tomorrow. Stay healthy and stay safe, we are all in this together.