One Crazy Year

2020 was an unusual year. Many challenging situations came up in terms of the pandemic, racial justice, and other issues. While it has been tough I feel that I have learned a lot from this past year and that it has had some upsides.

I have been doing pretty well during the pandemic. I have gotten to know myself and other people better. When virtual school first started I thought that I would enjoy it because I was always done by 1:00 p.m. But I realized that I was bored in my free time. I learned how much I really need friends and other people to play with and talk to. I have also learned to be more independent. For example, my parents have to work a lot so I have been doing more things on my own. I have cooked food for myself like quesadillas and spring rolls. I have to remember when to go to class and to help my brother get to his classes. Also I do more outdoor activities by myself like running and hiking. These make me feel good.

Another upside to the pandemic is there has been more family togetherness. We used to have dinner together about once a week, but when everything went virtual we started having dinner together six to seven times a week. We play a lot of games together, but are pretty cautious about spending time with those who live outside our house. Both of my grandparents live in Ohio. We have not gone to see them in a long time because we want to keep them safe. Not everyone in the family agrees on the best ways to stay safe. Some have different views and are okay seeing friends and other people. It’s a hard decision because you are risking your safety and other people’s safety, but you are also very lonely and want to see friends. My grandparents have been lonely and are trying to stay safe, but sometimes it is hard for them to do that. To help with this, I have been writing a lot of letters to people, and my grandparents and I play cards together on Zoom. Even though we can’t be there with them, we can still do things together.

I would choose to stay safe rather than go visit friends’ houses, but I can understand why someone would want to go. Some of my friends are less cautious than others. Some say we can have playdates if we are outside. Some say we can be inside with masks. Some don’t care and will do whatever the other person is comfortable with. I make my decision based on how much the other person has been exposed. I’ve played outside a lot with friends: laser tag, football, and other fun activities. Currently though I have been doing outdoor playdates with masks on because my mom works at a hospital. So if she gets sick, her patients could be exposed and it could be life-threatening. We want to stay safe as well as keep other people safe during these tough times.

Something else I have learned is that there are two sides to every story. I understand that not everybody agrees all the time, but there were some things that seemed like everyone would agree on but some people saw a different side. For example, when COVID started to get very serious, I thought everybody would wear a mask to stay safe but not everybody did. Another example is how police have been treating people differently based on the color of their skin. After the Black Lives Matter protests over the summer, a lot of people wanted to defund the police. It was easy to see their perspective, and that is the side I agreed with. At the same time though the police are not one person. There are good cops who have done nothing wrong who would lose their jobs if the police were defunded. My friend’s dad is actually a police officer, and I’m pretty sure he is a great cop and has done nothing wrong. When there are multiple sides to a story, I’ve learned that it’s important to try to see and understand all of them so the community can work together to solve the issue.

2020 was a crazy year, and I hope the future brings good things and an end to this pandemic. I’m looking forward to seeing my friends and family more and also traveling more.

Theo Chaney

Theo Chaney (he/him). Grade 6, Greene Street Friends School in Philadelphia, Pa.

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