Right around Thanksgiving, Minnesota entered a slightly less restrictive lockdown than the one in March. Bars, restaurants, and gyms? All closed. Take-out only; no outdoor dining options. All Minnesotans have now are bookstores, personal care shops, and outdoor recreation.
In the words of our governor, Lockdown 2.0 targets the 18–35 age group, also known as the “super spreaders” since the majority remain asymptomatic while COVID-positive and spread the virus without knowing it.
As a 28-year old millennial, I could either bitch and moan about the second round of closures or find something better to do with my time. It was during my second plate of Thanksgiving servings that a lightbulb flickered in my head.
If you loved something as a kid, who’s to say you can’t love it as an adult?
Our 5-year old selves trained us to survive a pandemic
Think about it: we didn’t have bars and restaurants in our youth. We didn’t have gym memberships, social media accounts, or a list of all the faces we had to see and places we had to go.
We barely had fucking internet. Dial-up, anyone?
We had our bedrooms and a backyard (or access to a public playground). That was all we needed to entertain ourselves without technology or other people.
We had our toys—our Legos, chalk, plastic food, My Little Pony, a collection of Barbie dolls, Hot Wheels race tracks, rollerblades, and hockey pucks.
The answer to pandemic survival is so simple we nearly missed it: what would our 5-year old selves do?
Our 5-year old selves had our priorities straight
I had my first experience with social media in middle school—AKA the MySpace days. On a sleepover, my friend Meredith thought it would be hilarious to make a fake MySpace profile with stupid interests like “picking up dog poop.”
Wow. Just wow, Sophie. YoU wErE sO fUnNy BaCk ThEn.
Before all that, I loved to play outdoors with my soccer ball or bucket full of chalk. I walked around my backyard picking up slugs, snails, and those roly-poly bugs. No phone, no laptop, not a care in the world for anything other than what was right in front of me.
God damn, we sure had our priorities straight. We cherished fresh air, room to run around, being hands-on with Hippity Hops and Four Square during recess.
How I’m allowing my 5-year old self to take back control
Little did we know, these simple pleasures would become our saving grace in 2020. This year stripped us of so many joys like birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, graduations, and the like.
But it also served as a chance to take back control. You either run 2020, or it runs you. If my 5-year old self could time travel to my current self, she’d tell me to get the fuck outside and rollerblade.
Rollerblading was my favorite thing to do as a child. It almost makes me cry because it’s something I did with my dad every Sunday at the park. Fast forward to 2020—my dad’s no longer with me and there’s a deadly virus on the loose.
So I rollerblade.
I rollerblade to honor the memory of my dad.
I rollerblade because every 5-year old knows the benefits of fresh air.
I rollerblade to feel less alone as I wave to joggers on the same path.
I rollerblade to remember the simpler times.
I rollerblade to regain control of my physical and mental health.
I rollerblade with my dog to give him the best life possible.
I rollerblade to appreciate a new day—one day closer to a vaccine.