Gen pre-C to Gen C: A time capsule letter for those born post COVID-19

Dear Generation C,

Firstly, a friendly word of caution. In this letter are disclosures of a prehistoric reality which – considering your cusp births at such a steep turn-point in history– will certainly make you feel claustrophobic.

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Young Coronials,
Do bear with the stories that spawned your current perception of ‘normal’. We, your socio-culturally hybridised elders, cannot stress enough on the evolutionary consequences that came cascading upon our generation in the year 2020.

Sown into the much larger tapestry of life, our pragmatic realities back in the days were indeed very different. And we’re sorry if we keep reminding you out of the
blue every so often.

“Masks were only an upcoming trend then, love. They weren’t even branded.”
“The concept of personal space in any public sphere whatsoever was.. well, let’s just say a wee bit abstract. It would be anything but rare to spot large crowds gathered at restaurants or shopping complexes or movie theatres – where by the way, we’d sit right next to strangers and munch on popcorn and other confectionary with our bare fingers too!”
“A queue might have looked different back then. What with all of us impatient creatures so
eager to mount on top of another. Simply to reclaim a few extra seconds from our daily mad hustle.”
“We hadn’t the slightest idea that century-old mannerisms like handshakes would be replaced by the elbow-bump. For years we’d greet acquaintances by the hand. See what we’d do is..clasp the palms and then shake it briskly.. up and down.. repeat!”

It is an undisputed certainty, that the mere sound of these references would’ve sent a chill down your spine, urging you to run to the sink and give your hands a nice robust scrub.

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Cut to reality –
Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine that the largest global crisis in a hundred years could be of such expanse and manifest in a manner so subtle as to invalidate even the most rudimentary gestures of our time.

Banalities took on redefined meanings. We’d reached a stage where going to the grocery store became a swashbuckling adventure. A stroll in the park needed to be meticulously planned, anticipating when there’d be minimal communal activity. The remainder of our schedules were spent productively – doing cooking, exercising, reading, karaoking or slouching, sleep deprived, in a cozy corner of the house with an extra-large bag of nachos in one hand, a strong drink in the other and a bright screen in the front.

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And while time within the walled world came to a standstill, life on the outside evolved at an unprecedented rate in seemingly paradoxical directions. On one hand, we moved forward by introducing new technologies, making ground-breaking scientific discoveries and surveillance systems to aid social and medical preparedness and on the other, we went back on a commercial and productive precipice all the way back to de-globalisation.

It’s quite laughable really, our ancestors predicted flying cars by 2020, and here we were when even aircrafts ceased to fly. Many service sector and recreational industries rendered obsolete, stocks plummeted and we faced an avalanche of economic crises.

What then, is the ultimate takeaway from our metamorphosis? In sum, gratitude.
Do you now realize just how many events and choices have led to the making of ‘you’ exactly as you are today? We are all a result of small fateful miscalculations with no real traceability, and no one to take the blame.

Today, the further we draw away from that year, the bigger it gets.
But what if 2020 wasn’t a curse, but precisely what humankind had so desperately needed? A year so uncomfortable, so raw that it finally forced us to grow. A year that screamed so loud that it finally awakened us from our slumber, and where we finally accepted change, declared change, become change. Chaos theories dictate that you must collectively spearhead big changes by starting small. Don’t take your coincidental trajectory of existence for granted. Instead cherish the simplicity of life for they too have histories more complicated than you can fathom.

Lord knows, we didn’t too, until it was too late.

Yours naively,
The youth of 2020.

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