At the gas station, masks were on and everyone was standing on the red distance stickers placed on the floor. Some chatter was happening at the register, something about “It’ll be OK! I just wanted you to know.”  Then, as everyone was waiting to pay for their gas, a bell on the door rang. A little lady with a brown and teal headwrap walked through the door. She stood for a second, then began moving toward the counter. 

“Excuse me, honey,” she’d say about three times until she was almost in front. Then she held up her hand. Her raspy voice said she had lost her keys. Apparently, she had been in there to pay and gone back out. She didn’t know what had happened to them. But it didn’t matter. Everyone who had been standing there waiting to pay for gas turned to help. A rough-looking guy from behind the counter stepped out. A stranger ran outside to look in the parking lot. Everyone was helping. 

And honestly, it’s probably the most social interaction anyone had gotten in a while. But it felt good to know that humans still looked out for one another in this weird year. We’re still real. 

By the time this is read, it’ll be the new year. So, hopefully it’s looking good, though it’s very new. However, 2020 taught me a lot. I’d never choose to relive it nor am I too thrilled about all of the chaos and drama; it still taught me a lot about us, as humans. 

We’re vulnerable, we get scared, we get angry but we’re still strong and adaptable. The school and business world flipped upside down and even closed its doors and still, yet, some changed their entire systems of service within weeks. Sure, some things weren’t perfect, but some completely flipped the old system to adapt to the new. 

And then, there are those who haven’t grown out of their rebellious high school stage and refuse to wear the appropriate protective gear, like a simple little mask. But still, most people have been pretty impressive. 

Then, through all the changes and through all the losses, we have still kept being human. Helping others and thanking them. Making sure those who are sick are taken care of. People stepped up to their sewing machines making masks, which they never thought they’d be making. It’s beautiful – besides all of those who hoarded all of the toilet paper and cleaning supplies. 

But most of all, we have learned the importance of loving and laughing with people in person. I’m thankful for modern technology that allows me to see others, but it isn’t the same as hearing their laugh, seeing their quirky mannerisms and sitting at a table with them when both were trying to get away from everyone for a second. 

I’ve learned the importance of living in the moment, of taking in every sound, smell and touch. Of not living to plan out a life but living to remember one. Most of all, I’ve learned that life should be celebrated. After all, we’re just a bunch of strangers after the same goal and, most of the time, willing to help one another find our keys.  

 

— Hannah Morgan, a native of Wyoming County, is attending WVU in pursuit of a career in journalism. Her email is hannahmorgan13943@hotmail.com.

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