Perception of COVID-19 changes through generations

Most teenagers have the reputation of living with a false sense of invincibility. We are known for living recklessly, whether it is driving too fast on the road or misusing drugs. Now due to the pandemic, living recklessly has a different meaning. However, being a teenager is no excuse to disregard masks and safety precautions. 

Fear of COVID-19 used to keep me from going out in large groups and pulling my mask down in public. Now, I find myself second guessing the importance of living safely, despite the fact that I am getting exposed to COVID-19 now more than ever.

Meanwhile, my parents have not gained this sense of carelessness. They only see a small number of people, and take safety precautions to lower their worry of exposure. Recently, I have gotten frustrated with myself for not having the same fear of the virus that they do, and I know that I am not the only one.

COVID-19 has been in our lives for almost two years, but that time is perceived as shorter or longer based on age. For adults, this is still a recent event, but to children and teenagers we have been living this way for a long time. My parents are both around 50 years old. For them, the virus has taken control for only four percent of their lives, but being seventeen myself, I have been living with COVID-19 as a constant threat for almost 12 percent of my life. 

I find it unfair that our generation has missed out on so many important moments and memories that are part of adolescence. Because of COVID-19, I never got to experience a “sweet-16” birthday party, or my entire junior year of high school on campus. I know that I am not the only one that missed out on these key moments of high school, and feel that it is completely unfair. 

However, the spread of the coronavirus is above the fairness of our lives. Just because we had to spend the majority of the past two years quarantining or wearing face masks does not mean that we can stop now. The health and safety of ourselves and others should come before the important memories we are missing, despite a feeling of immunity many of us have.

Our generation has grown up with the COVID-19 in our lives, but that’s no reason to live dangerously. A false feeling of invincibility does not make someone immortal, and it is important for us as teenagers to recognize that to keep ourselves and those around us safe.