Stories are fascinating to me.
After school was called off in March, I just needed to breathe. I needed to do something relaxing because everything around me got so crazy so quick and every well-laid plan we made as a family was disappearing and there was nothing I could do about it.
We were just getting over the devastation of our son’s sports injury and now our spring plans were getting turned upside down. All of it was completely out of our control. I needed to relax.
So I bought two books.
One was an autobiography written by a man widowed in his mid 20s. It was the love story of he and his wife. There were sweet moments in the book and moments where I sobbed like a baby while reading. I couldn’t put it down and finished it quickly.
The other book was written by George and Barbara Bush’s granddaughter about her grandparents’ life together. It was fascinating because personal stories are intriguing.
History is intriguing too. I can remember very clearly where I was when big historical moments in my lifetime happened. I remember when the space shuttle, The Challenger, blew up. I was home sick from school. My TV show, “The Price Is Right” was interrupted with the news. I went into the kitchen to tell my dad. He thought I had my information wrong – until he followed me into the living room to see for himself. I remember seeing the look on my mom’s face when I walked in the house to see her watching TV coverage right after Princess Diana’s car accident. I remember where I was when I saw 9/11 unfold.
Seniors, you are living in the midst of one of those big events. It stinks. But you have a story to tell. There is the big picture of how this pandemic affected the world and then there are the details of how it affected you in particular.
I’m sure you have felt lots of emotions. Hurt. Frustration. Maybe there have been a few good emotions and memories too, like when you all bonded together with a group hug on the football field. You weren’t thinking of social distancing in that particular moment because you needed each other – to grieve what you lost as a class. These are your stories, unique to you. Stories that you will want to share some day. Maybe with your family. Maybe with students. Maybe with the world. Writing this down lets you share your story.
One day your children or grandchildren might ask you what it was like living through all of this as a senior. You can pull out your journal and show them exactly what you felt in this moment. Maybe when you were at the football field with your classmates you were crying so hard with tears running down your face. Normally you might be embarrassed but this time you didn’t care, and neither did your classmates. Maybe you spent a summer’s worth of wages to buy your prom dress only to have it sit in your closet like it is taunting you. Perhaps you had your first doctor visit online, something that your kids might see as totally normal in the future. You will have lots of stories to share. I would encourage you to write them down.
I’ve heard several people with much more wisdom than me talk about the importance of journaling during this pandemic. I would agree. Keeping a journal is a good way for one to work through feelings. It can help us remember small details we might otherwise forget. Keeping a journal will allow your kids and grandkids to learn about the event, not just from history books, but what it meant specifically to you. The reminder of all of the things that you are missing out on might not be what you want to write about now but someday you will be glad that you did.
I wish I had words of wisdom or encouragement for you but I don’t because I didn’t go through what you are going through when I was a senior 25 years ago. But I can wish you much success in the future. Many of your dreams and plans for your senior year are gone, and I’m so sorry about that. But I do hope that every dream and goal you have for your adult life comes true and that you find happiness and many wonderful memories in the years to come.
Esta Ryder, Realtor
Ryder Realty, LLC