Being Young in a Time of COVID- India Adams

I’ve always considered myself to be both a very independent person and a very introverted one.

I’ve always considered myself to be both a very independent person and a very introverted one. When I was in my early-mid 20s, I was especially entrenched in this view of myself, feeling like I needed to prove that I could handle everything on my own and that showing vulnerability to others was a weakness or at least something to be avoided, if possible. As I entered my late 20s (which quickly turned into my 30s), I started to loosen up my view of myself and how I interacted with the world. I had learned early on in adulthood that life doesn’t usually go the way you think it’s going to go, but it still took me a number of years to learn that putting rigid boundaries around identity and experience is usually more about control than about the truth. Becoming an adult was scary and feeling like I knew exactly who I was and how I should be interacting with the world gave me a way to deal with that fear and discomfort. But when I started to loosen up my mindset, of course I realized that vulnerability and connection were both incredibly important and very much accessible to me.

I’m now 35 and, like all of us, coming up on the end of a very strange and difficult year. I have been working remotely and, while I spent the first half of quarantine living with a good friend, I moved to my own place and now live alone. I was very lucky to still be able to see a couple of close friends who are in my quarantine pod, but I’m still struggling greatly with the isolation and I have to admit, it has surprised me. Despite my lessons learned about identity and about myself, I still went into quarantine thinking things like “this won’t be that hard, I’m so introverted” and “well, it’s not like I had much of a social life to begin with.” I also know that being introverted doesn’t mean you don’t like people, it has to do with what draws on your energy versus what replenishes it (I highly recommend the book Quiet by Susan Cain for anyone interested in reading more about this). But I was still surprised by how much I missed people and how clearly important those connections were to my mental health and wellbeing. This experience  made me realize how much the threads of community and connection are woven into our society and our everyday lives, even when we don’t realize it. Even when we consider ourselves introverts who don’t need lots of connections or a widespread community.

 Despite my struggles this year, I am immensely grateful for all the ways I am privileged, especially having a steady income, a safe place to live, and the ability to still connect with my loved ones, even if often it’s on a screen instead of in person. The upside of having our in-person social connections temporarily severed or limited was that we got to be creative about how we create new and different kinds of community and connection.

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India Adams lives in Boston and works at Oxfam America, a global non-profit fighting poverty and inequality. She is passionate about human rights, gender justice, and creating social and political change alongside many other incredible activists. India graduated from Boston University in 2010 with a degree in International Relations and received her Master’s Degree in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University in 2015. She is a former co-director of Skill Set, where she continued the work to empower youth and create change through the magic of Rowe. She is also a current Junior High Camp co-director.

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