What's the January v. September Challenge? Lockdown Hasn't Always Been Kind

In theory, nine months isn't a very long time, but add a pandemic forcing people to stay inside for the better part of six months, it starts to feel like its been nine years. In a new Twitter challenge, people have been showing themselves at the beginning of 2020 in January and where they're at now.

While it's not exactly original to joke that it feels like we've been staying in March 2020 for the past six months, there's little else to compare the feeling that the coronavirus lockdowns have brought to. Despite the fact that so many of us don't want to accept the fact that time has passed since lockdowns begun, we all have to accept the fact that we're not stuck in limbo, and the COVID lockdown has started to show for so many of us

In a photo that best summarizes the January vs. September challenge, a Twitter user likened their change in attitude to the transformation that Bryce Dallas Howard's character in the "Nosedive" episode of Black Mirror undergoes throughout the episode. In one photo, she's prim, proper and composed, but in the next photo, she's clutching a microphone, with her dress ripped and making streaming down her face. In other words, it's a perfect representation of someone with their whole life in order, and another that's starting to lose it from the lockdown.

A number of people used screen grabs of actors and characters to explain their shift in attitude over the past nine months, including Danny DeVito's Frank Reynolds in It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia and Sigourney Weaver's Ripley from Alien.

Other people used memes to demonstrate just how worn out they might be from the year or how they've been over it from the start. A number of people have used digital illustrations of themselves to also demonstrate the change, many are optimistic and excited looking for the January pictures, while the September pictures are tired and wearing masks.

Other people on Twitter shared photos of themselves both in September and January, showing some of the changes they've undergone. Some are simple with people wearing masks in more recent photos, while others are much more serious, such as people sharing photos of themselves after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Despite so many difficult things this year, some people did share positive changes they underwent, whether it's something as simple as just looking great or getting pregnant. Other people shared that they'd overcome some difficult things in the beginning of the year in the time since it's started, such as one person who lost weight after breaking up with his fiancé.

Reflecting on this a little more personally, the only picture I had from January was after an impromptu set after midnight on New Year's Eve. Comparing that to a candid shot from apple picking this weekend, I really just hope that wearing a mask around my chin is what makes my cheeks look chubby here. I miss a lot of things from early in 2020 like doing comedy, going to concerts, and so much more, but there have been some good things, like going on runs consistently or getting into a new relationship (that started before lockdown, but we made it official after). Regardless, please wear a mask so things can go back to normal.

COVID
People wearing masks sit in Times Square as the city continues Phase 4 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus on September 20, 2020 in New York City. Getty/Alexi Rosenfeld
What's the January v. September Challenge? Lockdown Hasn't Always Been Kind | Culture