During the lockdown, my daughter keeps in touch with her friends via social media. She misses them terribly.
She told me that one of her university friends is worried sick about his job. He is convinced that he will be made redundant once the lockdown is over. He works at the Development Department of the National Theatre, a dream job for him. Our neighbour's son who went to the same school as my daughter has been working for BA as an air steward for the last four years and is currently being furloughed. He is also convinced that he is going to lose his job once the furlough scheme is over. In despite of her calm demeanour, my daughter has her own misgivings about her job. She works for a cultural institution in London and she knows the score.
My twenty-two-year-old son is an MA math student who will sit his finals in two days. He has not started job hunting as he wants to focus on his finals and get good exam results. We don't know what the job market would be like for him, but it is not going to be easy, to say the least.
My heart goes out for the young, not only because I have two young adult children, but also because I had my fair share of struggles in my teenage years and during my twenties while living in the People's Republic of China, as I came from a rural area where opportunities for the young were far and between. It is fair to say that nothing was ever handed to me on a silver plate. Quite the opposite. In 1980's and 1990's China, unless you were born into an influential or wealthy family, your path would be littered with obstacles and challenges. Before coming to the UK, I worked in the field of journalism. The boss of my organization was a little Stalin and Harvey Weinstein rolled into one. Being a twenty something female journalist in a country why the rule of law was rather precarious, life under this man was certainly not a romantic movie. At times, I was overwhelmed by a senses of despair and hopelessness, but I never gave up. I firmly clung to the belief that one day I would be free of all of this. At the same time, I improved my English.
This experience has made me who I am today. Even when your life reaches the nadir and when all the doors seem to be closed to you, keep hoping, as hope is all you have and hope will guide you out of despair and darkness. While you are waiting for the next opportunity, prepare yourself for the next opportunity by learning a new skill, a new language or even just acquire a new hobby, such as gardening, walking or reading, which will give you a sense of purpose in the short term as well as enrich your life. Set yourself a small target each day, when you achieve it, you will feel you have not wasted another day.
My dear young friends, I cannot say life will be easy post-covid-19. That could be the understatement of the year. Nevertheless we have plenty to be grateful. We live in a safe and peaceful country where the rule of law is respected. We have the NHS and social security. We are alive. So keep trying and keep hoping.