Column: My real life horror movie

TRL's Olivia Lauter shares her opinion on life spent isolated while in quarantine

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Olivia Lauter

"By the end of that week off, I knew it would be a long time before I would see my school’s hallways or friends again. COVID-19 was officially affecting my life more than I would’ve ever expected."

Quarantine. It sounds like the title of a horror movie I’d love to see. But it isn’t a movie; this is real and this is how life is currently being “lived.”

If you talked to me a month ago about the coronavirus, I would’ve told you it wasn’t a big deal, and that it was never going to personally affect me. It seemed like it couldn’t possibly be reality. Social media, especially TikTok made it seem remote and humorous. Little did I know how much of an impact it was going to make on my life.

If I’m honest, when we first got word of school’s closing for an extra week after spring break, I was excited. A week to relax sounded nice. I thought I’d be able to see friends and just take it easy for a little bit longer before starting the last quarter of school. That idea changed as soon as I got home from Colorado, where I had spent my break. I soon realized everything, including my cheer practices, were getting cancelled and most of my friends’ parents were not allowing them to leave their houses. The time off was still nice for a little bit, but I quickly became bored and stir crazy. 

By the end of that week off, I knew it would be a long time before I would see my school’s hallways or friends again. COVID-19 was officially affecting my life more than I would’ve ever expected. Between me and my boyfriend’s breakup and my grandpa’s passing, in one day, I had a really rough time. All I needed was a hug from a friend, but that couldn’t happen. COVID-19 had taken that simple comfort away from me. I can’t go see my family in Tyler and cry with my grandma. I can’t binge on ice cream with friends to get over my ex. I had to sit in my house and grieve over Zoom with my family and cry on FaceTime over all that had happened on that difficult day with my friends. 

Every day seems to switch from how I felt the day before. One day I’ll be super productive, get lots of work done, and stay very positive about getting through this time of isolation and the next I’m frustrated and upset about the fact that this is taking so much away from me and people all over the world. There’s no endpoint for this. No prediction of when this pandemic will stop taking over all of our lives. We’re stuck. Unable to take part in what was normal less than a month ago. 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m as confused and frustrated about this change as the next person, but I want to take this experience as a time to learn. I want to learn to take a breather sometimes, and that taking that breath is not a bad thing. I want to learn not to take normalcy and any opportunities for granted. Ever. Regular day-to-day life is precious and can be taken away in the blink of an eye. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss school. I miss cheer. And I miss every other aspect of life that made it feel like I was living. One day all of that will come back and I can’t wait until then. But until then I want to take this time to think, pray for those around me and in the world, and take a breather because that’s what I believe this is meant to be. A break and a time for everyone to learn not to take anything for granted.