Our very own (extremely extroverted) YouthLine volunteer talks privilege, gratitude, and purpose during COVID19.
A reminder that YouthLine is an essential service during the COVDI19 shutdown. Teen volunteers are here to answer calls, texts, and chats from 4pm-10pm PST every day. Adults answer calls at all other times. Reach out if you need support!
I am someone who considers myself to be very extroverted. While I enjoy downtime, I get energy from being around people. Now, finding myself in the middle of quarantine, unable to see my friends, I’m often stir crazy– wandering around my house mindlessly, waiting for what comes next. After all, there’s only so many hours of Animal Crossing: New Horizons that you can play. I’m privileged to say that while the coronavirus pandemic has affected me in major ways, none of them have been financial. Despite feeling trapped in this situation, I am trapped in comfort: As I’m writing this, I’m sitting on my couch, wrapped in blankets with my cat in my lap. I have running water, toilet paper, and a stock of food. The idea of privilege, even during this pandemic, is a sentiment that many of us need to remember, and not take for granted.
It’s an interesting concept, the fact that for all extensive purposes, life has been put on pause and, for me, this unprecedented time has given me lots of time to think.
And a lot of time to breathe.
While being separated from my friends and stir-crazy has been difficult, I’ve realized lately that the pandemic hit at a time where I was completely and utterly overwhelmed. Homework and extracurriculars were piling up and wearing me down. Suddenly, everything stops. In a way, I can’t help but feel grateful for that break, and with everything paused I have started to see my mental health, which was declining, return to where it should be. This leaves me feeling guilty, knowing the travesties caused by the virus all over the world. Still, the pandemic has me yearning for normalcy: to hang out with my friends again at our favorite sushi place; the routine of getting up and going to school and rehearsal everyday; to feel once again the mundanity of life.
Volunteering on Youthline has given me a glimpse of that normalcy. While I do work an essential job, that schedule is irregular, and I often never know exactly when I’m working. However, Youthline gives me a couple things. First, it gives me the social interaction I need (in line, of course, with social distancing measures) with my shiftmates. Second, it gives me structure; a sure-fire thing that happens every week. Third, and possibly the most important of all, it gives me a sense of purpose in this bizarre time. Being able to continue the work I do and provide support to my peers during this time of worldwide crisis is something that I don’t take for granted.
That’s what I’ve learned through all of this. Even at the lowest point, sometimes the best thing we can do is reach out our hands to help each other.