LIFE Interrupted

Girls' Life magazine|June/July 2020

LIFE Interrupted
How to navigate the new normal when nothing seems normal at all.
Jessica D'Argenio Waller

Everything has changed. And, to be honest, for many of us it’s still hard to come to terms with the fact that life is different now, all thanks to a virus called COVID-19. The global pandemic has left all of our lives forever altered, in varying degrees.

For some, the changes have been major. The loss of a loved one. A parent suddenly out of a job. Goals and dreams postponed.

For others, it’s struggling with schools being shut, trips and events being canceled and relationships that suddenly went from face time to, well, FaceTime.

And for just about everyone, it’s been a period of crushing sadness and mounting anxiety coupled with uncertainty, fear and even boredom. But all of us have one thing in common: We miss life the way it was. Life before the virus.

There’s a name for what you’re feeling now in the wake of all this: Grief. And we’re here to tell you it’s totally normal.

“It’s so normal, in fact, that I’d expect the majority of people—teens and adults—to experience some level of grief for their life before the pandemic,” says teen anxiety specialist Kelsey Torgerson Dunn.

Granted, grief is something most of us typically associate with the passing of a grandparent or a beloved pet. But you can experience those same feelings when you’re grieving things you miss about your life before a traumatic change. You can even grieve things that *didn’t* happen (like the postponed quinceañera you’ve been dreaming of since you were 5).

“Grief can be about things big and small,” notes Dunn. Like not being able to do things you used to take for granted, like seeing your friends at school or going out to your family’s favorite restaurant or hugging your nana. No matter what you’re longing for that was part of life before coronavirus, it all factors into your grief.

But there is good news: While life may continue to be altered for a while, there are things you can do to find hope, joy and meaning again. Here’s how…

Feel your feelings

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June/July 2020