To act your age is a virtue — but what that entails has gotten rather a lot more complicated because the pandemic.
The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 had a detrimental effect on everyone’s mental health, a toll still felt today. Research has shown that kids are still struggling at school, while young adults complain their maturity has been stunted — a phenomenon experts are calling the “pandemic skip.“
Casey Corradin, host of the podcast “Between Us Girlies,” posted a 35-second video on TikTok breaking down her understanding of the buzzy phrase.
“Whatever age you were when the pandemic began is where you’re at mentally,” the podcaster told listeners. “Because three years were wasted.”
Anecdotally, she recalled 20-somethings who fear they’ve taken too long “figuring their life out,” and 30-somethings whose prospects of beginning a family feel uncomfortably near now.
The favored search term #pandemicskip has collected over 11 million views on TikTok, with countless users sharing the ways a yearslong social lockdown has hampered their personal development.
“I’m 26 now, but I at all times say I still feel 23,” one viewer confessed under Corradin’s clip, which garnered greater than 3.7 million views on the app. “I believed I felt younger for other reasons and I just wasn’t mentally able to be an adult.”
“Finally, a word to explain how I’ve been feeling. ‘Pandemic skip,’ what a relief to finally pinpoint the phase,” thanked a watcher.
Nova Cabban, a psychologist within the UK, describes the “pandemic skip” because the sense that we missed out on growth milestones and opportunities that might have occurred in the course of the years the world was on hold.
“[People] have lost so most of the experiences that make up our sense of time passing that it looks like life was on hold as an alternative of moving forwards,” Cabban told The Post. “Days would often pass with none recent stimulus, significant change or progress. It altered our perception of how much time was passing.”
“In consequence of this ‘missing time’ there may be a way of disconnection between the stage of our lives we feel we’re at and the fact of the age and stage we’re in,” she explained.
Moreover, Cabban continued, anxiety about one’s own fleeting existence “can result in people wanting to reset the clock and return and still have the experiences which are related to their life stage without judgment.”
When the natural desire to stay young at heart is met with the psychological upheaval of a deadly global crisis, the result — leaving us feeling motionless — hampers inner growth and inspires us to heed more juvenile impulses.
Last yr, a report published in PLOS ONE discussed a “bend [in] the trajectory of personality, especially in younger adults” following the pandemic. It found that positive traits related to psychological maturity, resembling conscientiousness and agreeableness, had decreased amongst young adults while neuroticism — the thing that makes us anxious and fearful — increased since 2020.
Nevertheless, Cabban reassures that while this hiccup in personal and skilled may feel isolating for some, they’re not alone.
“Everyone’s life went on pause so we’re collectively experiencing the necessity to recalibrate and realign — which means your peers usually tend to be in the identical timelapse state as you and in this fashion, we aren’t behind on anything,” she said.
“Connecting with others who share similar experiences can provide validation and a way of community, fostering resilience and adaptive coping strategies.”