My dog Penny, an eight-pound Maltese-Yorkie mix, curls up next to my legs. She doesn’t know any better. For her, the world hasn’t changed. If anything, it’s improved tremendously. Her humans don’t have to leave the house every day and return only after the sun has set. We no longer go to God knows where, for countless hours at a time, then have the audacity to not even bring home treats.
My life, however, has changed–for the better or worse, I’m not quite sure.
For the better, I have a lovely girlfriend. The Sunday before our spring break I had this friend over whom I’ve liked for a while. When we received news that we wouldn’t have school the next day, we instantly decided to have a sleepover. I asked her that night if she wanted to be my girlfriend. She said yes. For the worse, I haven’t been able to see her in person for over a month due to social distancing, but without quarantine we probably wouldn’t be dating in the first place.
For the better, I have all the time in the world to draw and write to my heart’s content. I love writing and drawing, but homework and other activities keep me so busy I barely have time for my creative pursuits. For the worse, I no longer have band, choir, theater, or dance practice. The main reason I don’t have time for writing and drawing is that I’m already preoccupied with the other activities I genuinely enjoy, some of which I can’t pursue later in life.
For the better, I’ve gotten to spend more time with my family than I have in years and have reconnected with old friends from middle school. I’ve felt less guilty about not being there for my little brother. Now I’m stuck in a house with him, and he can play Minecraft and Legos with me as much as he wants. For the worse, I can’t even talk to some of my friends with strict parents, because they’ve had their phones taken away. Some of those people are my closest friends, and it includes my girlfriend.
Life is different. It’s not good or bad; it’s just a new type of normal. Penny stretches out and yawns, still snuggled up by my side. For now, she keeps me grounded in the present, and all I can do is wait and see what the future holds.