Infection rates have risen and the finger of blame is now wafting in the direction of young people. There are allegations of young people flagrantly disregarding social distancing and televised media portrayals of young people at illegal gatherings and congregating outside town and city pubs.
It has been a stressful time for young people, particularly those embarking on their university journey. ‘A’ level exams were unavoidably scrapped, having a significantly stressful impact on ambitions and aspirations in the shape of results and desired university places. University means moving into shared multi occupancy accommodation where there will be more bubbles than in an Aero bar. In theory the university experience was predicted to be a diluted version of its former self due to the majority of learning being online and the restrictions placed on numbers permitted to gather.
I have friends working in high schools and universities whose anxiety has risen tenfold due to being back in the workplace. The job is challenging enough without the added complexity of implementing new learning structures and policing behaviours that contravene safety guidelines. Add to this living in localities where restrictions are in place, managing the frustrations of being centre stage with a thousand plus young people yet prohibited to spend time with friends and family in a social setting.
Consider your younger self and the carefree state of living in the moment that naturally and quite rightly exists. Feelings of immortality and having fun can be dominating thoughts prompting decision making and behaviours. Most of us have cringeworthy reflections and memories that our older self would not only frown upon but sanctimoniously caution against to our offspring. Behaviour that may appear as wanton recklessness is not always a form of rebellion but an inability to perceive risk or danger. Life lessons cannot be taught, only learnt by experience.
It is easy to blame young people as their behaviour is out there and visible. There are many who have circumvented COVID guidelines, rules and restrictions either wilfully, unintentionally or misguidedly but have done so more discreetly. In the defence of “young uns” there exists a belief amongst some young people that things have returned to normal. The opening of hospitality, education and leisure facilities are a valid evidence base to suggest this is the case. The messages and rulings are inconsistent with this. For many of us longer in the tooth, the minefield of contradictions is a complicated environment to figure out. I admit to listening to news and government briefings while churlishly wailing, “But whyyyyyy?” This then triggers a need to formulate a litany of discrepancies in guidance or rulings to rant about to selected friends via text message. Once venting has been saturated, I am able to temporarily arrive at a place of acceptance.
Cohorts of people perceived to be vulnerable to Coronavirus or carrying infection risk has shifted over the course of the pandemic and have made me incredibly uncomfortable. Identifying sectors of society is of no help to anyone, it only serves to create divisions and animosity. The thoughts and feelings attached are far more harmful to our wellbeing than that of others.
Corinne Yeadon is a Therapeutic Practitioner offering various treatments from her Skipton-based practice, Being Better. For more information about the services offering by Being Better, please visit their website.