"three years wasted"

Has COVID-19 ruined your gay 20s? Join the club…

Lonely young man

The 2020s aren’t the first decade in which the LGBTQ+ population has endured an epidemic, of course, but the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many a twenty-something’s “adulting” years. In fact, Reddit user u/GodMadeAdamAndSteve said he feels like his 20s have been ruined by the coronavirus crisis. He writes:

I just turned 24 when COVID started, and I was just finding myself. Then I went back home with my parents during the pandemic. Two-plus years wasted. Now I’m turning 27, and I’m actually behind where I was in the past.

So what now? Rents are crazy, energy prices are awful, interest rates are going up on mortgages. So I can’t buy. I can’t rent. I can’t do shit. I’m left behind. I date guys [who] got their shit together before COVID, so it was more just a blip for them, but for me, it was a major step backwards.

Anyone else experiencing this? Three years wasted, and now it’s getting worse.

And this fellow certainly isn’t alone. One commenter said that he had moved 400 miles away from his unaccepting family and was excited to “fully be [himself] and away from them,” only for those same family members to lose everything during the pandemic and move in with him. “It hasn’t been easy to regress back to the closet because they are uncomfortable,” he wrote. “Just hang in there. You got it! There is still a lot of life left. Hang in there.”

Related: 5 reasons gay men should get the Covid-19 vaccine

Another person said he endured severe depression from 2016 and 2018 and then moved from Texas to Idaho for a Ph.D. program, and that’s when 2020 hit. “My income was cut over 60%, [I was] facing eviction, faced racism, faced isolation because I was far from home,” he recalled. “I contemplated going back home, but I wanted to try to make my own way.”

That user eventually transferred to a similar Ph.D. program in Florida and found his life’s purpose in COVID research, and though he’s still dealing with debt and physical and mental health issues, he’s not giving up. “I think the worst things happen to the people most fortuitous to withstand them,” he observed. “I didn’t want this to be this hard, but there’s nothing I can do but keep pushing ahead while living life despite not being ‘well off.’”

He went on: “Look around this world! So many of us are struggling. There’s commonality that’s not our fault, yet we don’t know how to come together to get what we deserve. Miseducation and propaganda is to blame, but once you get the self-responsibility B.S. narrative off your shoulders, you’re more empowered and feel less alone. That feeling is an oppressive tool.”

And a third user said he had to pause his medical training because his work in healthcare settings would put his cohabitating parents at risk. “The point is, it’s OK. Our generation is on a different timeline than our parents, and if you came from a struggling home, it was always going to be harder and much worse for you than your peers who came from better homes, with COVID or without,” he wrote. “The biggest thing is to sit down [and] analyze where you are, where you want to be, what is keeping you behind, what are your biggest issues right now, how you can solve them and be kind and proud of all the things you accomplished so far and all the things you will accomplish in the future.”

Related: Gay bars lead the way in requesting vaccine proof but policies vary wildly across US

Other commenters, meanwhile, told u/GodMadeAdamAndSteve that one’s 30s are the new 20s. “My early 20s was me trying to graduate from college, mid-20s was getting a job, and then [I had] a financial and personal safety net by my late 20s… all set to enjoy my 30s,” one wrote.

Another said, “30s have been so much better—you’re much more financially stable than you were in your 20s, comfortable with who you are, and more likely to have ‘settled’ as a person.”

And a third user wrote, “I’ve been really relating to the ‘Your 30s are just your 20s, but with money’ meme a lot lately.”