I’m not sure that I am courageous. I am certainly afraid. I’m terrified. There are mothers who get out of bed everyday to teach their children and simultaneously goes to work. There are front line health professionals, fighting for lives every second of every day. Essential workers leave the safety of their homes, putting their families at risk. And yet, I am afraid. I’m afraid to get out of bed. I’m afraid to go to class. I’m afraid to wake up to nothing. I’m afraid to go to sleep. I’m afraid to keep living for a future I can’t predict.
I wish I had the courage that healthcare workers had. I wish I had the strength of parents with young children. I wish I had the strength of teachers, grocery store cashiers, childcare workers, delivery drivers. I wish I had the willpower to face the day the way so many are around the world. It’s hard not to feel isolated, useless, purposeless in comparison to the rest of society. What can I do? Why am I complaining? Who do I turn to?
It feels like there is a pit of unknown threatening my downfall, hanging at my feet. And I know that if I do not sit up from a restless night of sleep, if I don’t try to get some exercise, if I don’t do my homework, I will tumble tumble tumble, all the way down to the bottom of the pit.
But then I remember. I remember millions of seniors across the nation staying home and guiding younger students in a time of uncertainty. I remember my family friends making and mailing homemade masks. I remember my teachers and my international classmates and my own sister. Every morning, I make the difficult and conscious decision to swing my legs over the edge of the bed and place my feet on the floor. And I do it for them. For the past two months, I have fought the battle to simply make myself breakfast and coffee. All for the people I remember.
I am terrified. But I am courageous for facing my own fears. I am courageous for reaching out to my counselor. I am courageous for putting on a smile for my teammates on a zoom call. I am courageous despite not leaving my house. And you are too. You are doing your part, even if you feel like sitting on the couch, binging Netflix shows is not helpful. You are doing your part when you film an at-home workout for your social media platform. You are doing your part when you get out of bed and go to work. You are doing your part when you delete social media to focus on your mental health during this time.
There are many fears, unknowns, and threats that reign our world today. But you are doing the most important work when you decide to fight the battle and refuse to surrender to those fears. If you are reading this, whether you’re a senior in high school or a senior manager for a fortune-five-hundred company, the past two months have been hard for everyone. It is extremely difficult to be strong right now. But know I am doing my best to be strong for you. Thank you for doing your best.