You read the title and probably thought, ‘who’s us?’. If you’re reading this, you’re most likely part of it. You deserve that recognition. Recognition for how you are dealing with everything that’s happening. Head down, no complaints, and work our asses off in one of the worst disasters our generation has experienced. Excuse my language, but our generation is fucking amazing. And here’s why.
Sometimes you just have that feeling of pride. It’s odd, but after Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte directed his words to our generation specifically, I felt the tears come to my eyes. Not because of being sad about having to stay home all the time, but because I’m proud. Proud of us. Rutte complimented us for following the rules and regulations, and asked us for help. Why? Because we are the future of this country and the world. It felt good to have this acknowledged for once because this generation has sometimes lacked that acknowledgement. It wasn’t there in words or actions. But now, it finally feels like we’re seen.
It Ain’t Easy
It’s not easy being in your twenties right now. Your social life is limited to your roommates for at least two months. No ‘borrels’, no drinks with your friends and no festivals. No contact with fellow students at lectures and tutorials, but instead looking at each other in your pyjamas through your laptop screen. No dating, no kissing, and any potential love interest slowly fades away. Even socialising in the park with your friends can cost you €390 and a criminal record. The period of your life that is supposed to be all about making new friends and exploring yourself is now spent inside, re-watching FRIENDS for the 12th time and sleeping more than you actually need.
Some of us are lucky enough to still have their job. However, not everyone is in that situation as most students are dependent on the hospitality industry for their income. They work in restaurants, cafes, or hotels. With the HoReCa sector being shut down for months, these students have lost their jobs and thus their livelihoods. Meanwhile, the (incredibly) high rent prices won’t get lowered, and the only costs that are being cut are our (over)spending on eating out and alcohol. And not only the financial aspect is challenging. This is one of the most taxing mental situations a considerable amount of us have ever been through. Staying at home and watching Netflix sounds like a dream world, but it can turn into a nightmare for some of us.
And Yet, We Carry On
Even though we are being put in a situation where we run little risk of actually being heavily infected by the virus, we adhere to the rules. Most of the people you see outside or in the supermarkets are older than us, and more at risk. Yet, our generation seems to be better at actually staying inside. Of course, it helps that we can work remotely. Still, we actually wouldn’t be at that much of a risk when we actually get ill, even though you could still be an asymptomatic carrier.
Even when comparing our reaction to the situation to the youth in other times, we stand out. During the Cold War, the youth had a rather negative outlook on the situation. There was no future, because the bomb was going to fall. The music was dark, just like the hairstyles and the shoes. Our generation now puts our head down and works. We dedicate ourselves to doing the right thing, in a situation where almost no one knows what the right thing actually is.
I’m proud of us. We are doing this together. There will be an end, eventually. In the meanwhile, we have got to try to hold on.
Look out for your friends who you haven’t heard from in a while. Call them up, have a fun night of trivia or something. We will be fine, trust me. We’ve just got to sit it out for now. Soon enough, we will be dancing the night away again.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect Medium’s editorial stance.
Cover:Ri Butov on