I walked the tracks of fear and joy

Dead+ends+are+an+inevitable+part+of+life+so+suck+it+up+and+deal+with+it.+

Changfeng Zou

Dead ends are an inevitable part of life so suck it up and deal with it.

Changfeng Zou, Design Editor

My alarm went off as usual on March 17, yet everything felt different, as if I was waking up into a dream. As I prepared for “school” I looked into the mirror, seeing the same drowsy face I always did following my 3 a.m. bedtime. Since then everything has felt wrong, too unreal to be real. I’ve treated this “vacation” as a break from normal life, a dream come true with more time for everything I love: games, sleep, anime and manga. This vacation has also let me escape the prison of LDHS two months earlier than expected.  

With an abundance of time in hand, I slowly returned to my youth, watching as many hours of anime per day as humanly possible, yet everything felt empty and different. As the break went on, I realized this is not the “senior week” I expected. Nothing feels real as I fall asleep each night hoping everything will return to normal the next day and waking to realize I’ve been living a series of “dreams.” 

At first, I never expected myself, an introvert, to miss the outside world, my friends and anyone other than my family. For weeks I experienced loneliness, but I soon found friends online. I convinced myself I didn’t need the outside world, and by spring break this abnormal life felt normal once more. 

In the beginning, human interaction drew me out from my quarantine, but I soon realized I couldn’t be like the others. Looking through other people’s Snapchat and Instagram posts only upset me because they seemed like they were living “normal” lives, as if nothing had happened and they could keep experiencing the world in their ignorant crowds of stupid activities. I was jealous of their normalcy, but I knew I was safe when they were not. 

At first, COVID-19 felt unreal, a distant fear and set of escalating numbers hurtling toward me from faraway places. The fear of death and losing those I loved was there, but never at my doorstep. Somewhere deep in my heart I believe I will survive. Yes, the fear is strong, and this may be an ignorant mindset, but I would rather live than live in fear.  

This nerve-wracking trip might take weeks or months. In this seemingly endless journey, instead of looking down at the track of fear, I choose to look outside the window for comfort. The window I grasp in my hands, the window of battery percentages and low storage, this window allows me to escape the present through the 2D world of anime. I lose track of time as I dive deeper and deeper into the many series I watch, hoping to overcome this uncertain time.

And that’s how you should overcome it, too. Don’t risk your life and the lives of others going outside when there’s so much to experience within your own four walls. The faster you realize your best friends are on a screen, the faster you’ll get back to the real friends you have outside.