Life In The Roaring 2020s: Young People Prepare To Celebrate, Recover Lost Pandemic Year

After Gabby LaRochelle, 22, received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, she contacted her friends to make travel plans for this summer. She can’t wait to get out of her house in Clarksburg, Md.

“So I was the one who looked like,‘ we have to get out, we have to get out, we have to get out, ’” she says.

As the choice for the vaccine increases, more and more young people are getting vaccinated. For many, more than a year of lost youth has passed. While the effects of the pandemic may be long-lasting, some young people are excited about the opportunities for social interaction this summer.

LaRochelle says her friends told her they need to do their shots before they hang out again, so she waits for that. In the meantime she is planning. She says she was a much more spontaneous person, but like her friends, the pandemic made her more cautious.

“I would just be,” we’ll see what happens and that’s life. “C’est la vie,” she says. “Now I say,‘ who is this Gabby? I don’t know her. I would have gotten a nose ring already, but now I’m just scared. “

Gabby LaRochelle, 22, misses the trip she was able to make pre-pandemic. (Gabrielle LaRochelle)

She is nervous about interacting with people again, but still wants to live her life and do what she couldn’t do during the pandemic.

James Bradley, 21, however, did not celebrate much before the pandemic.

“I feel like I’m missing something, but I don’t know exactly what I’m missing,” he says.

He is in his senior year at the University of Montana, where he stayed close to campus and attended hybrid classes. Having received both doses of the vaccine through college, he decided he wanted to try to be more social now that he was drinking. He himself celebrated his 21st birthday in November last year. It was disappointing.

“I was sitting alone at home and at one in the morning went and bought a six-pack. [The cashier] didn’t even card me because it was 1 [o’clock] in the morning and I looked sad, ”he says.

Second “Roaring ’20s”

Both LaRochelle and Bradley are keen on what the coming months could bring.

“It’s a bit like those famous photos when the end of World War II was announced about sailors catching nurses on the street and kissing them,” he says. Nicholas Christakis, sociologist and physician at Yale University.

Hopefully, all sailors kissing nurses would currently get consent first, but we could see a similar period of retirement such that comes after conflicts, according to Christakis. In his book, Apollo’s Arrow: The Deep and Lasting Effect of Coronavirus on the Pathway, Christakis examines what a post-pandemic life will look like, looking back to periods such as the Roaring 20s, a decade that also followed the 1918 Influenza pandemic. He says that after the COVID-19 pandemic, we could see people looking for more social interactions in nightclubs, bars, music festivals and sports games, as well as people constantly spending the money they saved during the pandemic.

“If you look at what happened when pests end, you know that for centuries people have calmed down,” he says.

He adds that long-term aid, however, will only come around 2023 or 2024. As there are a significant number of people not vaccinated, he predicts that the pandemic will not end soon. Christakis also predicts a period when people are still dealing with the aftermath of lost jobs, closed companies, funeral loved ones and more.

At the same time, with more and more people vaccinated and opportunities for safe social interaction outside, this summer could be a small window to post-pandemic life.

“I think this summer will be a taste of the past and a hope for the future,” Christakis says.

Adriana Trigo, 23, began thinking about going out after her vaccine. (Adriana Trigo)

Some historians do not see the similarities between the 1920s and now, while others. Either way young people are certainly excited about the idea of ​​a second Roaring 20s. For example, 23-year-old Adriana Trigo is so excited for the post-pandemic future that she prepares herself by practicing her dance moves and wearing heels that she hasn’t worn forever. in her home in Washington.

“I’m going crazy. How I’m absolutely going crazy,” she says. “I don’t want to get to the point in my life where I’m connected by family, by work, by whatever, and I haven’t benefited from my youth.”

She also agreed with her sexuality during quarantine and feels she has failed to investigate that.

“Life is too short not to get drunk with your friends and life is too short not to try to find love? That’s some kind of decline, but you know. I don’t know, I’m excited,” she says.

The impact of the pandemic on mental health

What Kira Pomeranz, 20, of Georgetown University, longs for in a pre-pandemic celebration, is far less romantic than what Wheat is missing. She is finishing her semester near her college in Rosslyn, Va.

“The whole thing about going out in college is some of it just dirty and nasty,” she says. “And we miss the shit. It’s like, have you ever seen it as a brother’s floor? You know that’s disgusting.”

It was nasty, but at least she was with her friends. She feels that the pandemic forced her to sacrifice her mental health in exchange for her physical health.

“Mentally, I just need to be around other people my age to some degree. And I think a lot of young people really really need that,” she says.

Sarah Lipson is a professor of health policy at Boston University and researches the mental health of young adults and youth. She says there were difficult exchanges that many people had to make during the pandemic. The impact of the pandemic has spread unevenly across age groups. She explained this with a concept called “sick load”.

“For older populations, when you think of chronic health conditions like diabetes or heart disease, those are large burdens of disease in older populations. In younger populations, there is mental health, which is the largest burden of disease for young people in the United States. and globally, ”Lipson says.

Many young people are in pain from the pandemic. A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that people between the ages of 18 and 24 suffer more from mental health problems during the pandemic than any other group. One in four reported having seriously considered suicide.

Lipson says socializing can once again help with the loneliness, isolation and financial stress that worsened during the pandemic. But she says it will not eliminate these mental health risk factors at all.

“People can be very excited and experience joy because of the opportunities to connect with people they haven’t seen face-to-face. And at the same time, there’s a lot of sadness and a lot of anxiety. And those immediately kind of coexist, I think,” she says. .

Not Roaring 20s for everyone

Nikka Duarte, 23, thinks her joy and sadness will coexist. Although she says getting the vaccine lifted a huge weight off her shoulders.

“God, it was amazing. Coming back from the vaccine, I felt hope for the first time in a while and that was a big deal,” she says.

This summer Duarte wants to open her home in Atlanta, Ga., To her vaccinated friends, and her way of talking about it sounds a bit like the festivities in the 1920s novel, The Great Gatsby.

“I want my friends and I to be as extravagant as we want and make costumes if we want or themed parties. Just stupid things like that because I think we have a lot to mourn but also a lot to celebrate coming out of this. So yes, I’m ready for the Roaring 20s, ”she says.

Nikka Duarte, 23, is repairing her garden so she can invite her vaccinated friends this summer. (Nikka Duarte)

As excited as she is, Duarte doesn’t want to forget the social issues that were previous in the past year. She lives near where an Atlanta police officer fatally shot, Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old black man.

“I guess I’m just worried that all Roaring 20s will somehow get out of it and maybe we’ll be a little distracted. And I hope that doesn’t happen,” she says. “Again that depends on each individual, but that’s something that was gradually behind me.”

Zoë Mhungu, 22, says that for her this is something to think about when you interact with people again. She moved to Los Angeles last year and found it difficult to make friends because of the pandemic.

During the protests against police brutality over the summer, she was mostly quarantined with her family in Arizona. As a black woman, she thinks about navigating interactions with whites who are now more aware of the realities of being black. in the United States.

“I feel like now it’s on the radar of other people who don’t have that experience and who aren’t black Americans or even colored people. So now, in the few social settings I’ve had with people, that feels very tangible. so it wasn’t before, ”she says.

She doesn’t have a very romantic view of the Roaring 20s. Being Black, she says it’s not about a period she’d like to return to. Yet as someone who especially lacks concerts and live spoken poetry, she is excited about the idea that the arts are flourishing again.

“If people try to tell their stories and even use it as a coping mechanism, or as a way to heal and build, I think there could be a lot of really great art coming out of that,” she says.

Mhungu and some of the others interviewed for this piece expressed that they don’t want the 2020s to just see prosperity for wealthy wealthy whites, as the latter has mostly seen.

“Some people really suffered a lot during that time. So that’s my main sadness about it being the Roaring ’20s again,” says Bradley. “I don’t necessarily want to go back to that. I mean, even Gatsby himself in the book, he’s not a happy man.”

As they become excited about compensating for a lost year of their lives, many are still progressing cautiously and with the hope that the blessings of the post-pandemic era will be shared fairly.

Copyright NPR 2021.