Being a teenager is so difficult, so surprising at times, so life changing, immensely confusing, and of course, fun. Honestly, it’s hard to put into words how it feels. Adults say that a pandemic like this is causing new issues for everyone and I couldn’t agree more, but as a teen, it has left me completely baffled. I am just starting to figure out my place in the world, but how am I supposed to figure it out if I can’t live to my greatest potential in quarantine? The monotonous cycle of school, working out, and attempting to find new hobbies was unsettling and boring. I couldn’t go to school, I couldn’t do competitive swimming, I couldn’t see my beloved friends, yet I felt even more plagued with uncertainty. I felt as if I was acting in a movie, but instead of getting into my character, I was just reading my lines, with a bored expression on my face, and doing only what was asked of me. I refused to confront myself about my dissatisfaction with the shrinking possibilities these few months would hold, and that was my mistake.
As a teen, I find it difficult to consider my values, my relationships with others, and my own opinions about the world around me, but it’s even more frustrating to do so during this pandemic. With all the time I have had in the last three months to spend by myself, it’s been hard to have clarity about who I’m supposed to be. At this point, I am comfortable when I’m in beautiful places, writing poetry, talking to the people I love, and just simply doing what makes me happy, all of which are not quite solitary. One random day, I was sitting outside and listening to nature, perhaps to scare away my own thoughts. I had an earth-shattering moment of truth when I listened to the voices in my head for once. Of course, I had to write a poem about it. An excerpt from my poem puts my realization into words.
“How odd it is,
to be present in this revelation that no matter how much we believe,
We are never truly in the moment,
We can never unblinkingly see the beauty and the
fortune that lies awake for us,
As we only see what we look for…”
I realized that I hold all the power to make this quarantine an opportunity for soul searching, a time to press the restart button on my life, and to look for positivity. As has been suggested, “Where there is no peace, nothing flourishes,” and in quarantine, it’s so difficult to find peace, but we all must relentlessly search for that, whatever it may look like, so we can find our way to the life of meaning we all deserve. At the three-month mark, I’m taking more time to grow and learn, with small steps on the road to self-discovery, in search of my passions, and in reaching my goals. I know that it’s impossible to help make the world better if I’m feeling unstable myself, so it’s essential that I take time to find true meaning first. All I know is that meaning comes in waves, changing rapidly as the tide of opportunity rolls in and out, but controlled inevitably by my own hands.
Sophia Stewart is a teenager living in Orange County, with a strong passion for writing, competitive swimming, and being Jewish.