Pandemic Skip: Where Did the Years Go?

It has been a few years now after the pandemic and most of us have resumed our lives. But, some of us are struggling to adjust with the years we have lost being locked up. This new and rather odd phenomenon is called the “pandemic skip”. The pandemic skip, coined by Katy Schneider in her article, is essentially the development we missed out on as individuals because the pandemic is causing people to feel that our bodies and mind are out of sync. 

Many Gen Zers were just embarking into adulthood when the pandemic took over. We went into it in our late teen years to early twenties  and came out of it in our mid twenties. Those years that were lost to lockdowns have really impacted the younger generation in many ways. The best way to describe the feeling is going to sleep when we were 20 and waking up three years later. Our mental maturity stayed the same but we aged three years making it feel like our bodies are out of sync with our minds.

I personally went into the lockdowns when I had just turned 21 and came out of it at 24. I missed out on many milestones people go through in their early twenties. That has impacted my social maturity significantly and has affected my life in many ways. I was half way through university when Covid hit and never got a proper graduation making it feel like that chapter of my life never ended. Now in 2023, I am a university graduate embarking on the next phase of my life, (looking for a career), but still feel like I am a 21 year old university student. I am waiting for my brain to catch up with my body. 

 

I am not the only one who feels as if their mind and body are out of sync. Going online you will find many Gen Zers talking about their own experiences with the pandemic skip and how it has impacted their life. People talk about how they started university during the pandemic and they struggled heavily with the transition from highschool to post secondary, many even dropping out because they couldn’t adjust. Others talk about being in their late teen years and missing out on those crucial years of development. But everyone can agree we are the age we are, but mentally and emotionally we are not there. We missed out on significant experiences that shape our development. 

How Does it Impact Our lives?

The pandemic has impacted our lives in many different ways. Many of us don’t feel that our mental maturity matches with our current age and that can make many things like finding a job and even maintaining relationships a challenge. 

 

People who are now in their twenties are struggling to find jobs and careers because they don’t feel as though they are at that point in their lives yet. This is something that I personally struggle with because in my head I am still a university student, but I graduated. 

 

Many 20-somethings who are struggling to find jobs and careers also fear they’ve taken too long “figuring their life out” putting even more stress on themselves. 

Nova Cobban, a psychologist in the UK says anxiety about one’s own fleeting existence “can lead to people wanting to reset the clock and go back and still have the experiences that are associated with their life stage without judgment.” but Cobban reassures that while this hiccup in personal and professional arenas may feel isolating for some, they’re not alone.

 

“Everyone’s life went on pause, so we are collectively experiencing the need to recalibrate and realign — this means that your peers are more likely to be in the same time-lapse state as you, and in this way, we aren’t behind on anything,” she said.

 

Finally, while life came to a grinding halt during the pandemic, it was not all that bad, there is some good that came out of it. The time in isolation gave us a chance to discover ourselves like never before. We tried new hobbies and indulged in self-growth. And gave us an opportunity to really think about what we want to do and where we want to go with our lives.

 

While we missed out on crucial development that impacted our social, emotional and overall maturity, no other generation was blessed with the opportunity to have time to discover themselves in early adulthood. 

Are you dealing with big emotions and looking for support? PsyMood can help you find a mental health specialist who speaks your language. You are not alone. Click here to find the best specialist for you.  

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