COVID Chronicles: Defining a Generation
By: Wills Porter
D-Day was a day that changed the trajectory of World War II and came to define a generation
Growing up history fascinated me. I was that kid that memorized key details of battles and even considered teaching history. Having been a student of history since my formative years, I have come to understand that history has patterns. One pattern is that each generation is often defined by a watershed moment or key event. Battles, wars, and the rise of empires have come to define many generations. In other cases, generations are known by the pandemics they face. This is definitely the case with my generation, the generation of COVID. This is how I define my generation.
Comfort is What We Crave
Over the past year, few events have taken the world by storm quite like COVID-19. Before COVID-19 our lives were relatively normal. We went outside, got together with friends on the weekend and went to work at a physical location. This was the age before COVID-19. Then a virus entered the world that would change the course of our lives. At the time the Virus was first reported here in the United States many of us thought this to be unthinkable. Then again, is it all too unthinkable that such a virus could occur? The way I see it, the Virus is not that surprising. History is filled with examples of extraordinary evil and destruction. So, in this world, is it really hard to imagine a virus that can kill millions? This has happened before with diseases such as the Black Plague and the Spanish Flu. In my view there are a few different types of people in this world. Some people are willing to accept harsh realities can occur in their lifetime while other people have a hard time believing that such events can occur . someone may also believe that harsh realties can occur but that it won’t happen to them . I tend to fall in the first category. I believe that harsh realities can occur in my lifetime. If you don’t fall into this category, it’s ok because this is a normal reaction. Many people don’t like to be uncomfortable. In many ways so many of us crave comfort.
"It is our human instinct to crave structure and comfort. How else do you make sense of this seemingly senseless world?"
Throw in a major generation defining event (say… COVID 19) and you can see how many people’s self created comfort zones are immediately disrupted. Add a healthy dose of the 24/7 news cycle and you’ve got quite the situation that can effect a positive person in a negative way.
I won’t lie, living through COVID has been extremely challenging. My hope with COVID Chronicles is to bring to light the impact COVID-19 has had on the transplant community. This blog series will be like nothing I have ever written before because the main subject matter is not my own transplant experience but it is event that is currently making history before our very eyes. As I embark on this new blog series, I hope you will join me as I take you on a journey through the COVID Chronicles.
11 September 2001- The Day that Changed Everything
Where were you durring the
Zero Hour of COVID-19?
There is a country music song by Allan Jackson called “Where Were You?” That song was written in response to September 11th . In the song Allan Jackson asks, “where were you when the world stopped turning that September day”. In essence, Jackson is asking where were you when 9/11 happened. Where were you when so much changed in a way that almost ensured that life as we know it would never be the same again. In this post I ask a similar question, where were you when COVID-19 went from being something on the other side of the world to being a global pandemic. Where were you during zero hour?
When this virus originally became a concern in the United States, I was enjoying my spring break. At the time, I was halfway through my first year of graduate studies and had was working to land a dream internship for the summer. In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, my university extended spring break for an additional week to determine a proper plan of action for students returning from break. They ultimately extended spring break an additional week. While having an extra week off of school was nice, I had work to do. I not only had to be ready to return to classes, but I also had to determine if I wanted to stay the extra week out of state or return home early. I ultimately chose to return home early and I am glad I did. When it all went down and I needed to act, I was able to. When zero hour came, I was ready.
Earlier in this post, I stated that I believe there are a few types of people in the world. That is, those who that are willing to accept harsh realities and those who have a hard time accepting that such realties can happen to them. In a way, I believe that my ability to accept harsh realities helped me act when zero hour came. Durring Zero Hour there was limited information and a difficult decision had to be made. While making the decision to leave Florida early was easy, what was about to happen next was not easy. When I returned I had no idea I would have to advocate for myself in a whole new way. I was able to do this because I had properly navigated COVID 19’s zero hour. When this happened everything was developing at light speed. There was little time to think, and just time to act. The first step in acting was recognizing the reality of the situation. Yes, COVID-19 changed everything. I do not believe the world will ever be the same. The truth of the matter is that COVID-19 was a generation defining event. We all know this to be true. However, it is how we react from here that is key. If you didn’t react the way you would have liked during the zero hour of COVID-19 that is understandable. However, no matter what, there is no way to go back in time and prevent this from happening. We can’t control the past but we can, to some degree, control the future.
History in the Making
On September 11, 2001, life in the United states changed forever. In the imidate aftermath of 9/11 many of us had questions. How could this happen? What did this mean for the future of the country? What did this mean for our own individual futures? In the process of asking those questions we as a nation woke up on 9/12 forever changed. On 9/12 many of us came together as one to morn the loss of those whose lives were taken too soon. At the same time, we also wondered what was next and what we could do. In response to 9/11 we as a people picked up the pen which writes history and took control of the narrative. In the twenty years since 9/11 a lot has changed and with the advent of COVID-19 our nation faces yet another generation defining event.
In closing I want to ask you a question. What will history write of us and how we responded to COVID-19? In the prelude to this series, I wrote that many have become consumed in anger, rage and fear. All of these reactions are valid. At the core of these feelings, I think we are all angry at the situation. We are angry at what we have lost because of COVID-19. Some people lost their jobs, family members, hope, purpose and much more. However, the story is not over. History is still being written and in many ways, I believe that we are all living in history as it happens. This is why the tag line of COVID Chronicles is “Documenting History”. Each of us has within us the power to be resilient. We have the power to recognize the situation for what it is. COVID-19 exists and there is nothing we can do to go back and prevent this whole thing from happening. As hard as it is, we must all pick up the pen that writes history and document it ourselves. We control the narrative. Let us not ask what history will write of us but rather how we will define history ourselves. That is what I hope to do with COVID Chronicles. What do we do now? That is a question that we will continue to explore.