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Languishing, Hope, and Everything in Between: How Millennials and 20-Somethings Will Survive the Pandemic in 2022

A few weeks ago, HBO Max finally dropped the second season of Euphoria, a show widely discussed on social media and long-awaited by millennials far and wide. The mere fact that the second season took about two and half years to drop, because of COVID-19, brings a bittersweet taste to the mouths of twenty-somethings who quite naturally anticipate beginnings, but have developed a craving for endings. The conversation around how to cope surround the main character, Rue, in her fight against her drug addiction. While not all viewers can connect to her drug addiction, many can connect to the partying and the longing for a way to cope with the circumstances of life. The change that COVID-19 has brought upon the world and the struggle to find a healthy way to cope with that can easily be compared to Rue’s struggle and represents the struggle of many young people trying to navigate through this new way of life.


When will the Pandemic be over? This question surrounds the endless fruitful and dreamy thoughts of millennials and 20-somethings alike who just want to enjoy their youth. Job losses, travel restrictions, online classes, social distancing, depression, and death encompass their lives and leave them to question what, if there still is, the future will look like. I, as a full-time college student with two part-time jobs, cringe at the weekly emails pouring in, informing me of yet another employee infected by the vicious disease. I have even settled into the lack of weekly work hours I’ve been receiving because of the safety being at home provides. At 26 years of age, I think, “I should be working, I mean isn’t that what I should be doing?” Yet, the norm has changed. New restrictions exist and while they are in place to keep us safe, the distance or social distance feels all the more suffocating.

Thankfully, writers and thinkers exist and can provide the public with a positive outlook and understanding of what we face and feel. According to Adam Grant, writer of the New York Times article “There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing,” many people are feeling “a sense of stagnation and emptiness” or “as if [they’re] muddling through [their] days, looking at [their] life through a foggy windshield.” This, Grant describes, is languishing. He explains that the ongoing pandemic has taken a strain on the population and that the term languishing can be a helpful way of identifying that feeling where you’re not quite depressed but not quite “flourishing” (Grant). He continued by explaining that this term could be a way of truthfully describing how you feel rather than just saying “I’m good” or “I’m okay.” Understanding and awareness can be a way of bringing back the connection that we began to lose during the beginning of social distancing and start to lead us toward that yellow brick road we were headed down before all of this began.

Everything In Between

The pandemic has taken a toll on millennials and 20-somethings, but just as Dorothy’s bland world turned from black and white to color, the journey, though steep still leads to the yellow brick road. The black and white lives we led while hiding from that vicious germ made us sit, the work we lacked made us search, and the curiosity in us made us find. We found those brilliant films we never had the time to see, Zoomed that therapist we never had time to talk to, and read that book that made us see ourselves and the world in a more intricate and detailed way. We had time, or rather we realized that we had it. While at first, we may have wasted it, the thirst to do something still lurked underneath the surface. The change that we didn’t realize we needed revealed itself and the distance eventually brought us all closer together.


Yes, we’ve been through tremendous turmoil, and we hope for the best, even when we are not sure what is to come. The year 2022 has brought us something, something new and profound because in 2019, 2020, and 2021 we were forced to look for it. We had to look for reasons to move forward, rediscover and uncover what mattered, like family, and mental and physical health. Differences between one another, like race and political affiliation, had to be reexplored and re-discussed. The conversations around the importance of using correct pronouns when identifying one another and proper generational respect across the board were reexplored as well. In 2022, we will continue these discussions, though there is more work to do and ground to cover. We must bring more awareness to what we forgot but what has always been important. In 2022 I challenge you to push through the feelings of languishing and remember the importance of life, love, and happiness.


Grant, A. (2021, April 19). There’s a name for the blah you’re feeling: It’s called languishing. The New York Times. Retrieved January 24, 2022, from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/19/well/mind/covid-mental-health-languishing.html

Milaka Saddler

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