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  • Writer's pictureBehind the Mask

A Bittersweet Moment — Japan

2020 as a whole was a difficult year for me and always will be. From doing remote learning in a pandemic to stressful college applications to appreciating and losing loved ones, I faced a lot of challenges. While COVID-19 is still an ongoing issue that has many uncertainties surrounding it, I find it difficult to stay positive considering how many hardships most people and I had to face mentally and physically. However, I can’t deny that this year was filled with unexpected blessings and experiences that I’m extremely grateful for. Through the pandemic, I noticed that not every story in our lives is meant to be beautiful. Not every person who enters our lives is meant to stay forever, and that’s okay. Goodbyes will sting and hurt for quite a while, but when we realize that we can keep the meaningful parts of every story with us, I think goodbyes become a little more bearable. When we let go of the people we love, we’re left with a wide space in our hearts, but we’ll start to feel more content when we realize that each ending is accompanied by a new beginning.

That being said, as I reflect on some of the most painful experiences I’ve been through during quarantine, I realized how hard it is to overcome sadness and emotional pain. I’m starting to realize that time doesn’t heal all wounds completely, but it really does help the pain subside, although it stabs every now and then. No matter how long it takes, I ought to feel better at some point and I’ve started to understand and accept what has happened and why it has already passed. My goal for these next few months is to start bettering myself and to believe that things will get better, that I’ll be happy, and that it’ll all be worth it. In the meantime, as I go through more lockdowns, I want to be honest and tell the people around me how I feel. If I love them, then I tell them. If I want them to stay, I ask them not to go. If I miss them, then I express it. I hope to fight for things and people that I love. Most of all, I hope to look back at my life during the pandemic and know that I lived my life to the fullest with the people that I care for and love on my side.

— Tayoung Chung, 17

Tokyo, Japan


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