Today marks the 26th school day that we have been separated. By this point, you have likely watched the Tiger King, The Umbrella Academy, Black Mirror, Stranger Things (a second time) and Locke and Key. You have played Fortnite for hours, and created TikTok videos showcasing all of your dance moves. You sleep in until 10, 11, or 12 and stay up until 3AM.
You are stressed and bored, you are frustrated with your family, your friends, and the world. Some of you are mourning the loss of a family member or a family friend. Many of you are experiencing financial hardship that may get worse before it gets better. All of you are experiencing grief over the loss of a bit of your childhood, grief over the loss of routine, and grief of friendships placed on hold. Together we grieve the loss of being together. Sadness, anxiety, and depression are real words that our society sometimes pretends don’t exist. Sometimes the struggle to get out of bed and get moving is real.
When will things return to normal? What does normal even look like? When will we see our friends again? Sports? Vacations? Everybody seems to have an opinion, but nobody seems to have a real answer. Still, you ask…….
I don’t have all of the answers, and I can’t pretend to know what each of you are encountering on a daily basis. But I do know this...there are 106 days until classes resume on August 10, 2020. We will have been out of session for 151 days when we return. Your story could be defined by how you spend your next 106 days. Will it be defined by the exploration of your interests or passions? Will it be defined by your contribution to the betterment of society? Or will it be defined by watching all 33 seasons of the Simpsons?
There was a time when we waited for a quick return to normalcy, it felt like an extra-long spring break, but that moment has passed. Now is the time to do something remarkable, not for grades, but for personal growth. This moment in time is not what anybody wants, but how we each react to the circumstances we have been dealt will be what shapes us.
I made a list in August 2019 of the things that I hoped you might accomplish by the end of this year. Here is that list……write a book, start a movement, make a film, climb a mountain, take something apart, put something back together, lead a protest (we have already done that one). Write a play, spend time with a grandparent, or great-grandparent and record it for history’s sake. Become a storyteller, train for a race and run it. Write a song, mix a beat. Help someone when no one is looking, challenge facts and explore a viewpoint other than your own.
So…..now what will you do?