Matthew Yeager: My COVID-19 Experience

To summarize my experience in the COVID-19 pandemic I have to take you all a bit back in time. By five years to be precise.

I graduated high school in 2016, and soon after moved to Morgantown to attend my first round of university. After a couple bad anxiety attacks due to the stress of being a small-town kid in a new big city, and an overall bad living environment I decided it was best to pull out of university for a while.

I started working odd jobs for the next two years. Odd jobs with my first being a librarian for the city of Morgantown before moving back home to good old Wyoming County, West Virginia. I soon got settled into a dry security job where I patrolled drill sites in the middle of the woods 30 minutes away from the nearest main road. I was far from any trace of civilization, and the only face that I would see all day with the exception of my parents would be one of my coworkers taking over my shift.

This isolation persisted for two years. I was trapped working a dead-end job while all of my friends moved on with their lives. I grew distant from everybody with the few relationships I had left being exclusively online through social media.

In 2019 I decided enough was enough with dead-end jobs and decided to head back to school. I attended a community college for a year and a half finishing up my general studies courses. However, at this point I became a fossil lost in another era. It was difficult to socialize with people who were anything from four years younger to twenty years older than me so this isolation persisted throughout 2019 and into early 2020. Every face felt the same, and the social isolation that haunted me for those two years in the woods persisted ever onward.

To be honest, when COVID-19 broke out in early 2020, my life did not change. When seeing the scores of social media posts online of outrage from friends, and family missing events, missing the normalcy in their lives what made me sad was not the longing for that normalcy to return, but a longing to have had that normalcy to begin with.

I have kept the same routine I have had for years on end. I take care of my sick parents, and discover life through a computer screen like the rest of the world has had to adapt too over this long year. So, if I had to be critical my COVID-19 experience has not been that bad. Just the same old routine in this never-ending dream that I’m still yet to wake up from. But hey, at least we don’t have to worry about anybody thinking our faces are ugly anymore right?

by Matthew Yeager

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