(un)misspent youth

I sat down to do some work, took one look at the myriad of sources I need to read, felt overwhelmed and then gave up. Luckily, this has not been too much of a trend over the past few days. I do find it difficult to know how much work to be doing. Last term was so ridiculous that it became the norm to read and write an essay in 2 days, which obviously isn't good. But now anything else feels too much? And because I have less structural commitment, less need to cram it all in, less excuse to not do it, I feel quite lost and confused. Yuck!

this is as wild as its got people !

Let's be real, quarantine got to me this week. Don't you find it comes it fits and bursts? I had one afternoon of solid tears, and some realisations of interminability. I spent most evenings on zoom, feeling both comforted and distanced. I've ran a lot which has made my head feel free and perhaps offered some purpose, which has been comforting because everything else feels sort of pointless.

I've been thinking a lot about wasted youth, which is melodramatic and so irrational but apparently also quite a common and disconcerting feeling? I was on the phone to my friend yesterday and she said "Katie, I just can't help feeling like I'm loosing my best years", and boy did this resonate.
I suppose its the realisation that these weeks/months/years(?) of freedom and excitement and hedonism are being borne out at home. And that, instead sacking off work to go to the pub, or staying out until 4 or spending all my money on chai lattes, I'm at home knitting, reading and not much else. And I see myself being freed from quarantine and being too old to do all the things I would be cramming my days with now. I am especially overwhelmed with this sentiment when I put on nice clothes and draw on some eyeliner to feel some semblance of coherence, and then look in the mirror and remember no one will even see my orange trousers.
I look at my parents and think "you're life hasn't changed much, your life won't change much, but mine has all fallen away", which is selfish but also quasi-true, in a dramatic kind of way.
I'm scared that the rest of my degree will be spent like this, that I'll never again experience the chaos and the drama and the Saturday mornings gossiping. That it'll never be new or free again, that I'll be burdened by responsibility and adult seriousness.

Now trust me, I see the melodramatic hysteria of these words. That if a vaccine isn't found for 18 months, I'll still only be 22, and even then I can make up for lost time. And there are far bigger problems going on in the world, and really I'm being ridiculous. But I am still grieving the pain of loosing the thing I love most in the world, and am recognising that we all are undergoing some degree of loss - whether its for a person or a life or a favourite place. I feel like my wings have been clipped, after having been spread so wide and feeling so free.
And the interminability of it terrifies me sometimes, thinking of the next 8 weeks, then of summer, and then of the autumn. Not knowing when it'll end.

When I get into these spirals of decadent sentimentality (and trust me it happens a lot, when I think of all the fun I could be engaged in, or hell even just the alone Tesco trips and the nights in with friends) I firstly indulge in it, as I've done here.
I let myself feel really fuckin' angry that I'll be entering the world with a humanities degree and a *fucked* economy, mourn for the nights out and the dates I could have (but absolutely wouldn't have) gone on and disgustingly expensive pubs and the self-destructive intensity of life. I probably rant to a friend about how I feel my prime is being wasted and tbh what's the point because I'm going to be old and haggard when this is over, having never found love.
And then I think rationally. Rationally about the timescale, about historical comparison (every pandemic ever has ended), scientific advancement (every pandemic ever has ended, and most without a vaccine), welfare state (every pandemic ever has ended, and most without a vaccine, and without a free health service) my complete privilege, that at 22 I can still do all the things, and that they'll still be exciting.
I remind myself that everyone has lost something, and everyone is grieving for normality. And I also tell myself that this will end. That yes, the young are going to suffer enormously economically, but we'll can also (mostly) guarantee we'll get through it. So I think of the end. The people I'm gonna hug, and the places I'm gonna go, and how intensely I'm gonna soak up every drop of life.

I know this is ridiculously dramatic, but girl has got to feel! Please tell me someone else has these moments of narcissism?!

7 comments

  1. I've been feeling the same way, esp because this was my last semester at university and I was sooooo excited to go out there and make new friends but now I'm literally stuck at home and I can't help but to think I'm losing the best times :(( But like you said at the end I feel like when this is all over we will all experience life a lil bit more, go out more, say yes more and appreciate the hugs sm more!! wishing u love hehe
    https://sputniksweetheartn.blogspot.com/

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    1. oh gurl, that must be soo soo tough!!! yes you're so right, its gonna be amazing !! xx

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  2. Yep, entirely relatable gal!! God there have been times when I've been so fucking bitter about the summer I planned to have. I was meant to have a whole 4 weeks off in Bordeaux, I wanted to go camping in the sand dunes/forest, visit friends, drink red wine, wear dresses, maybe even find a French summer fling ??! Who the fuck knows, but all I know is that I will 100% not have that life again. (I've had to move out, i have no academic obligations in Bordeaux anymore, I literally will not be going back to the life I was living 6 weeks ago. Mad!) My two main summer events have been cancelled...I have nothing to do for the next 6 months...(boo hoo zoe ik)- honestly it could be worse. I could be a final year stressing over a dissertation. I get that I'm lucky and my current situation is not bad at all, but like you said, we fall into those moments of narcissism and shallow mourning, but it's okay!!! We have DEFINITELY not missed out on our youth - just think about all of the knowledge we've had access to, the places we've had the means to visit, the friendships, the laughter and the pockets of independence. Things have slowed down but this is a time for nothing but seeking out positivity when we can and planning for the future. I feel you with the whole humanities degree thing - but you know what, despite the stress at least we chose to study what we love, what brings us passion!! This is a long ass rant but anyway, we're all feeling this!! (Also, "decadent sentimentality", love that hahaha). Sending you sun rays and space for peace! <3

    Zoe xo
    delicate--musings.blogspot.com

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    1. Haha, you're so right - and there's so much more to come as well ! It is so hard to contend with those realisations though, about how much your life has changed? I am finding it quite cathartic to think about how much has changed in 6 weeks (i.e. the past 6 weeks) and therefore how much *can* change in six weeks (the future 6 weeks)- its perhaps a little optimistic but it gets me through with some hope! lots of love and peace gal x

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  3. I re-read this post a couple of times just because I felt like this is something I can relate to. This season of growing up and having to wait is hard. Hang in there. I enjoyed this post.

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    1. ah I'm glad it resonated !! You're so right, it definitely is a season of both growing up and waiting, which is such a strange paradox...hope you're managing okay!! xx

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  4. I told my mum about the misspent youth because yes it may seem narcissistic but as was mentioned in a High Low show (gosh that golden podcast) and I think (?) you mentioned it in a blog post, there is a part of grief about the whole process of lockdown. We are not missing out on our youth but instead anticipated moments of it. I think it's hard at points because we just don't know the ending and we're often so used to be certain about x, y and z happening. But it will return and will be all the more special. xxx

    eleanorclaudie.com

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Katie