I sit on my front porch listening to music and watching my neighbor cut his grass. Being outside helps me to not feel confined to my house during self-isolation.

LEXINGTON, S.C. – As I sit on my parents’ front porch in Lexington, the cul-de-sac I grew up on doesn’t seem any different than it did before the world was told to stay inside. 

The trees are still green, the road is still quiet and I still wave to my neighbor as he cuts the grass in his front yard.

Conversations inside my house, however, have changed in a way we never expected. 

My mom worries if we have enough food, but she doesn’t want to go out more than we need to for fear of getting the coronavirus. My 16-year-old brother complains about having classes online, even though he knows it’s necessary. My twin sister is anxious to be home — her college in Spartanburg announced online classes and told students to move out a week after mine did.

My dad was hired as a copy editor for a company magazine less than a week before our state’s lockdown. He is spending his first month on the job working at our kitchen table. 

The weirdest thing about starting a job in the middle of a pandemic, my dad says, is collaborating with people he’s never met before. He spends all day sending emails to people he only knows by name. 

Besides his frustration with the lack of social connection, he’s also trying to process an emotion he doesn’t see people expressing over social media. 

“They’re not acknowledging anger,” he said. “I’m angry that our lives have been put on hold by something you can’t even see.” 

As for me, I spent our extended college spring break avoiding my feelings and watching live Instagram stories. My favorite artist, Irish pop singer Niall Horan, released an album March 13, so I spent the week streaming his music, watching his live streams and FaceTiming my friends for eight hours straight. 

I was watching Horan’s live stream when I found out graduation was postponed. My mom walked into my room crying. The May 2020 celebration she planned for both of her daughters vanished in an instant. We were both grieving about the day we looked forward to for 22 years. 

I feel waves of sadness, frustration and anger about what this pandemic has taken away from our community. Hugs, high-fives and holding hands are gone for now. 

Today, I feel at peace with the unknown. We will control the spread of COVID-19 by isolating ourselves and caring for those around us. We will have our graduation. We will press play on our social lives again. But for now, I’ll be on my front porch streaming my favorite music and waving to my neighbor.