Reflections on COVID-19 - Nostalgia in the time of COVID
Sophie Choong

When I look back on my virtually-nonexistent records of the early pandemic months, it’s almost laughable how quickly I flipped from “this is a first-hand experience of a historic event!” to “I’m bored and tired; waking up feels like a tedious chore.” I can attribute this change to two things. The first: hearing the words “social distancing” so many times that it became my least favourite phrase–and the second: just wanting to go back to more comforting times.

That shift took place around May, a personal plateau month for me–read: the month where nothing happened. Then again, that title could apply to any of the three months following it as well, but I digress. I gratefully embraced every opportunity I stumbled upon to rewatch cheesy cartoons and listen to old favourite songs–despite  the complete lack of motivation I had to make a dent in my pile of schoolwork.

For the past eight months, we’ve lived in a constant state of touch-and-go in which it’s much more convenient to revisit old memories than make new ones. Binge-watching seasons of iCarly, and digging up diary entries from that mortifying Jersey Boys phase I fell into a few years ago are my most coherent recollections of the stay-at-home months, and the times I felt the least isolated too.

Psychologists have said often that nostalgia makes us more human, helps combat loneliness and deal with transitions. To me, it’s a constant reminder of society’s incredible tenacity and the coping mechanisms we all share regardless of the discrepancies between our former years. An indication that sometimes, the most reassuring words can be found in childhood TV shows.

Contributed by Sophie C, Grade 9
Originally published in Spirit Magazine - Fall 2020