Exhausted – Rachel Finan
You know that feeling before an airplane takes off? That split second of sitting in anticipation of the rumbling engine, the popped ears, your stomach dropping and feeling like you’re floating. Until suddenly you’re suspended in the air strapped into your peeling Southwest seat.
This year has encapsulated that feeling of suspense to a tee, but there’s been no take off — no resolution.
As I read through my fellow TKC staffers’ columns, I am struck by the lessons they seemed to learn from the infinite number of uncertainties of a year lived in a pandemic. Yet, as they ponder the complexities of the stars above and find life’s truths, I am stuck in this place of pause that hasn’t left since my extended sophomore year spring break turned into taking my AP U.S. History final at my IKEA desk.
I guess what I’m getting at is humans love to find the meaning in things. I think that’s where 2020 proved to be a puzzle. In a year of such turmoil, significance is hard to find, and as soon as you think you’ve found inner peace, people are storming the Capitol. You’re left looking at the next news headline to see what petition to sign or whether you’ll ever be able to buy hand sanitizer again. Everything seemed to be moving at a high speed that no amount of caffeine could help you keep up with. I tried to turn to running to find purpose or focus in a time where I felt neither. Instead, I had a canceled track season and a half normal cross country season spent battling self-doubt race after race resulting in subpar performances.
As junior year was underway, it was back to in-person school. After a short-lived time back, my mom came home with Rona and I was sentenced to three weeks of November in my room, only allowed to leave my Hobbit hole for a packed Thanksgiving dinner for my mom, my dog (he stuck to the Iams dog chow) and me. During my time in quarantine I tried hopping on the early quarantine trend of dying my hair pink, but sadly the meaning of life isn’t discovered in Loreal Temporary Hair Dye. In a fit of boredom my guitar left the corner of my room, I did Chloe Ting’s “Two Week Ab Challenge,” I went on walks, and I listened to podcast after podcast until I had spent hours learning about the childhood of Dolly Parton and the meanings of her songs in detail.
After my release from house arrest, I thought the ability to have human interaction would quench my insatiable boredom. Yet, as time droned on, even small gatherings seemed to blend together as weeks grew monotonous and my motivation spiraled like the stock market after the great GameStop scheme. My grades plummeted, my screen time skyrocketed, and Infinite Campus notifications ruined my “Grey’s Anatomy” oblivion. Every attempt at finding motivation for something was met with a stark realization that last school year my mask hook didn’t exist and the news, although still chaotic, didn’t rapid-fire tragedies at me till the point of numbness.
At this point you are probably questioning what the overarching theme is to this column. Here’s the best answer I could give you: there is no theme because I have no message, no lesson and no earth changing realization about life. This year I had family events, a death, an ACT, protests but all I can tell you is I’m exhausted. After fourteen months of living in limbo, I’m ready for the plane to take off and, dear God, please take us into a post pandemic world.