How have we become so selfish? An 18-year-old writes about coronavirus

by James Tierney

Please welcome James Tierney, 18, a highly talented young writer who hopes to make writing his career. His current projects include excellent fiction for children and young adults: this time, however, I asked him to share his nonfiction thoughts on the coronavirus pandemic from the point of view of a teenager in the UK. Over to James…Sz.

Now can you see the benefits of being tech-savvy, as we young people are?

At first, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It is like something you see in the movies.

Some sort of disease and no one is allowed to go out.

However, as the days have gone by the realisation has hit home. At first, they were saying it was only the elderly that were affected. As time has gone on, I have heard more cases of people around my age, or even younger, getting it and dying from it.

I think the worst of these was the 13-year-old boy who died from the coronavirus. It doesn’t seem fair for someone so young to die so young. Unfortunately life isn’t fair.  If anything, it is a gamble, some of us just get luckier than others.

Personally, I don’t think that I have really been that affected by the crisis and lock down. Yes, it can get boring from time to time. However, with all the technology we have today we could be miles away yet still not far away.

For all of the times people moan about the younger generation being tech-savvy mobile phones zombies, maybe for once you see why we use phones so much and how much joy and social interaction you can actually get from a phone.

Sure, everything may have been cancelled or shut, but I think that we should stay calm and carry on as we always have, as we should always do.

I had friends I wanted to visit and see face-to-face up in Nottingham, whom I can’t see any more. I had a driving theory test that had been booked that has now got delayed. I was attending workshops that were cancelled. I was due to go on holiday which was cancelled. And  I had started a job but the company has closed down.

But I am young, I am not high risk and I am well.

There is still many things out there to do, if you know where to look and if you don’t you can always google it! You can use your time to be lazy or you could learn a new skill, take a virtual tour around a museum, do an exercise class or all of the above.

Out of the bad, comes a lot of good

I think that for me personally and probably for many of you, it may be hard to see the bright side out of life at the moment with the daily death counts going up all the time.

However I think we should all remember the good this has brought out in us as well, which more often than not, is usually underrepresented and overlooked.

I am very proud of my brother who is a medical doctor and working long hours. Every time I see the news, I hope that he is keeping himself safe and that he doesn’t get ill.

The NHS needs people like my brother in a crisis like this.

We should all be proud of the NHS for what they do for our country. I know I am. I think it is great that companies are offering them special benefits and I thought that it was great that everyone clapped for the NHS.

This crisis has taught me how important good medical care is and how much I took it for granted before as it has just always been there when I needed it.

I think that we not only as a generation but as a society as a whole are becoming more and more selfish. It’s really sad. I know that there are good people out there: it’s just that they always seem so very small, whilst the selfish and the greedy seem to shine so very brightly.

When compared to the sacrifices and selflessness there were in, say, WW2, we don’t really have a lot to do. Yet some people still can’t seem to get it into their thick heads.

Some people are too stupid and selfish to recognise the benefits

I find the amount of people panic-buying beyond disrespectful. I am thankful for shops having opening hours just for the elderly and the NHS workers and putting a limit on how many toilet rolls people can buy. I am beyond disappointed that it has come to this. After coronavirus itself, our greatest threat seems to be stupidity and selfish attitudes.

Furthermore, it makes me feel personally guilty for whilst we all stay indoors, the planet recovers, the ozone layer is returning, pollution levels across not only Europe but across the globe are going down, the dolphins and swans are returning to southern Italy’s waterways and fish are returning to the canals of Venice.

No matter what age you are, this has affected us all. It may seem tempting to go outside: believe me I have felt it myself. I think although my personal experience is one of tedious, mundane mediocrity, I would rather have to go through what I have now, than what my grandparents went through in the WW2.

It really is quite simple: look after each other, look after yourselves and sooner than later together we can return to a new normality – whatever that looks like.

James and Suzan after one of their author mentoring meetings

I would like to say special thanks both to Suzan, for mentoring, helping and supporting me, along with the charity Transitions UK who work with people like me when we’re leaving care.

They have helped me a lot personally and are a lovely group of people. Click here for more about the charity, and check out their mentoring program.

How do your teenage friends and family feel about the coronavirus pandemic? Please share here. With many thanks to James and Transitions UK for bringing us all together. (Virtually, now!) Sz x