Video Blogger Asks for Comparisons to Today’s Tough Times. The Internet Delivers.

The past year has definitely left a lot of us feeling unsettled and uncertain.

During times like these, it can help to look to the past to find hope about our future.

One young woman, Cleo Abram, turned to TikTok looking for comfort.

Appealing to the older crowd in a video posted under the handle @cleoabram, she said:

Ok here’s my question: it feels like this particular moment in history is really hard. It’s a global pandemic after all…

So, if you’re 50, 65, or older (80! 95!), could you tell us about a time that felt similarly uncertain? …

I want to know what it felt like, and I want to know what you learned.

Check out the video…


been thinking about this a lot and wondering if there’s anyone older than me out there (50, 65, 75, 80!) who can help ❤️ #learnontiktok

♬ Lofi – Domknowz

Many commenters responded that these are unprecedented times and despite their age, they’ve never seen anything like it.

Others exhibited the same lack of concern that has become all too familiar.

But some users patiently described the struggles previous generations faced, a good reminder that we have lived through history so far, and we’ll get through this too.

Some reflected on the earlier civil rights movement, the origin of similar movements today:

“1968. There was civil unrest all the time. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, riots in the streets of Washington, DC, Bobby Kennedy was shot and killed, more violence. A few weeks later — the Democratic National Convention, nothing but riots and violence. And the Vietnam War still raging! ’68 was not a good year, but by ’69 we had man landing on the moon and Woodstock and things started to get better. We got through that. It was rough. We’ll get through this. It’s rough, but we will survive, we will thrive. Hang in there.”


And more than one person mentioned Apartheid:

“I grew up in Apartheid South Africa as a person who isn’t white. We had no idea if the oppression would ever end. Violence was rife. But we got there.”


And the lessons learned:

“I’m 58 and I grew up in Apartheid South Africa. I learned that things can go from fearful and hopeless, to positive and hopeful with good leadership.”


Memories of the JFK assassination echoed what we will probably tell future generations about the attack on the Capitol:

“A time in my life when I was really afraid was when President John F. Kennedy was shot. I will never forget that day. I was in geometry class when we got the announcement over the loudspeaker, and we were devastated. We didn’t think our country would ever heal or survive from that horrific event because we all loved President Kennedy.”


The Cold War was also a popular theme, which shows that some things never change.
The nature of the specific threat may differ, but the players are still dancing the same dance:

“When I was a kid, we lived in the DC area and my dad worked there. He was also in the Navy. I can remember those years during the Cold War when he would come home and there would be such an air of seriousness and uncertainty. Uncertainty causes a lot of stress and anxiety, and we knew things could change at any second. After the Cuban missile crisis, we had the arms race, and that was the only time I can remember this degree of uncertainty. Other than that, I don’t remember another time with this level of stress.”


Although no one mentioned the 1918 pandemic, many users recalled the AID crisis of the ’80s:

“The HIV/AIDS crisis. I was a child when it broke and it scarred me for life. The adverts were horrific. Nobody knew what caused it when it first happened. People thought you could contract it from sitting on a toilet seat or sharing a cup and predominantly from gay people because it was hitting that community the hardest. It was horrific…but we got through it because we followed the science.”


Another user reminded us that the threat of climate change isn’t a new concern:

“From ’77 to ’79, we had the worst drought in California and also had people shooting each other over gas. There were the hostages in Iran. In first grade, I learned the destructive power of nuclear weapons. In high school it was HIV, fear of being gay, and just not knowing what the world was going to look like. Then, in ’89, the wall came down. Every generation goes through its bad times and we get through it. Having gone through what I did as a young person gives me perspective about what we are going through now. It will get better.”


Nor is domestic terrorism, although it never stops feeling shocking:

“I’m 55 and I grew up for the first 34 years of my life living in N. Ireland during the ‘troubles.’ It was very scary at times and has left many scars.”

-@user45787591 Alan Johnston

And a few users passed on their grandparents’ experiences in WWII:

my grandma during ww2!!! she told us that they even escape in the middle of the night using a boat from one island to another. & changed their surname!! she’s 11 at the time and it was very scary for them. she’s 90 now!


This one really hit home:

I’m just 40, but I grew up with my grandpa, a WW2 vet (he passed in 2005). To him, every event in his life was either “prewar” or “postwar”.


Honestly, that feels like the most real answer of all.

We will get through it, because humans are resilient, but for many of us, our lives will forever be defined as “pre-Covid” and “post-Covid.”

What about you? Do you have any wisdom to impart about similarly stressful times in human history? Share your thoughts in the comments.