I am a child that came of age in the ‘80s.
I’ve known no true adversity. Unless you consider a decade of bad hair, bad fashion and bad music an adversity.
Of course, that is not to say my generation has not had it’s struggles. We were the first latch key kids, the first large group of children of divorce and the first generation to truly suffer the widespread plague of drug addiction.
But those of us who grew up in the era of Madonna, big hair and Cool Ranch Doritos are now pushing 50 and deep down know that that our collective generation hasn’t had it as bad as many others. We learned from our experiences and were trying to do better. We’d given up dairy and gluten, convinced ourselves that hot yoga was good for us, smothered our children with love and impossible expectations and painted everything white or gray.
Then 2020 hit.
The coronavirus came in and seemingly overnight crippled us physically and mentally.
And it was election year to boot! In an election where the two sides had never before been as polarized.
Shutdowns, mandates and conflicting information abounds.
As a mother, I’ve seen my children struggle through closures, loneliness and lost opportunities. As a child, I’ve witnessed our older generation shuttered away from human touch and experiencing final precious memories. As a friend, I’ve felt the anger and fear all around as many people have staunchly taken sides.
How is this possible? In just a few short months we, as a society, went off a cliff. Some days I feel as though I’m holding my breath waiting to breathe again. Waiting for normalcy to return, but some say it never will.
To vaccinate or not? Mask on or off? Was the election stolen or not? Is this all real or not? Will we ever recover? Will our children? Will our parents? How can we possibly make it through?
And that’s when I ran across the line out of a Robert Frost poem. Now, to be honest, I don’t read poems and only vaguely remember Robert Frost from high school English class. The truth is I heard this line in a bad Hallmark movie that I was watching, while sitting on my sofa eating a bag of almond crackers wishing it was a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos.
“Sometimes the only way out is through.”
And it struck me as the solution to 2020 that I’d been waiting for.
For all my worry and self pity, for all my research and conversations on masks, election fraud and long-lasting effects of COVID-19, the truth is we just have to get through it. And nine months later as I look around, I realize that we have. It’s not been pretty but it still doesn’t compare to what many generations before have been through.
Vaccines are coming but so will the choice to take them or not. Our kids may be bruised but they’ve learned to persevere, our older generation is surviving like they always knew to do and society can be mended because I firmly believe human nature is innately good.
Maybe this will be the defining moment for Generation X. Maybe we can even lead the way.
In other words, time to channel a little MacGyver!
Telling Tales is written by Wilson County’s Angel Kane and Becky Andrews. This column is Angel’s.