All the things we’re leaving and living

I have been thinking about this for a while now, but I still don’t know how to start.

One thing I found fascinating in high school was history class. I remember looking at the dates on the timelines and trying to find what events occurred when my grandmother was a little girl, when my parents were teenagers. I remember realizing that they were 23 and 25 when the Berlin wall fell. That they were both alive during the AIDS crisis. That my grandmother hid from the Germans when she was a kid. That my grandfather went to war.

It all felt so far away. So unreal. What was I living through? The closest thing I could think of was 9/11, and I can’t remember it obviously.

Is it possible to be nostalgic of times you didn’t live through?

I found life incredibly boring, and maybe that was very selfish of me since now that I think about it, I wish for the world to be peaceful. But I grew up fed by fairy-tails, pirate stories, historical novels (Odile Weulersse may or may not have contributed to that) and the modern world definitely lacked the spark I was looking for. I will never be able to thank my parents enough for bringing us on trips to the other side of the planet since I was 10, but it had the disastrous effect of leaving me yearning for more adventure.

But as years go by, more events happen, and I start to realize that history is happening. It is unfolding, right in front of our eyes, and our vision is too narrow to see it. But it’s just there: the rise of the Internet, Barack Obama’s election, scientists cloning human stem cells, the Ebola epidemic, the Charlie Hebdo shootings, D. Trump’s election (wish that didn’t happen), the Orlando shooting, the wars in the Middle East, the Harvey Weinstein accusations, the gilets jaunes, the movements for climate, Greta Thunberg, the Hong Kong protests…

2020 also started au quart de tour, with a close call for WW3, the wildfires in Australia, and obviously the Covid-19 pandemic. It was when my parents told me that never, in their entire life, had they seen such a pandemic, with the government shutting down schools and pretty much everything else, that I fully realized I was living history. « So this is what it feels like ». If there is one thing I was not prepared for, it is to be helpless in such a crisis. I always thought that when History would knock on our door, I’d be revolting. Would I have been drafted for the war, I’d probably have been a renegade soldier or in the Resistance (or at least that’s what I like to think, I don’t know). But there is nothing to rebel against now. I mean yes, capitalism and inequalities and shit of course but that’s not the point. You cannot kick a virus in the face. You cannot be angry at it, and the most helpful thing I can do is stay home, which I’m already doing, and studying so I can be a « very knowledgeable scientist who will save the world one day », which I’m more or less doing too.

So here we are, locked up in our homes, trying not to let another plague settle and I am left with my thoughts once more. I didn’t really plan a coherent or meaningful conclusion for this, please forgive me if this ending is to abrupt for your taste. Maybe one day it’ll be different.


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