The life we have today we call a war/life balance

The life we have today we call a war/life balance

Author Dayana Danliuk By Dayana Danliuk | iGeneration Youth

I remember awakening to the sounds of sirens on the morning of Feb. 24. I had fallen asleep just a few hours before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and now as I awoke a voice kept saying we were at war.

Throughout February, our media outlets were filled with news of a possible invasion. American President Joe Biden and his advisers predicted the start of the war on several different dates, but the Russians started it as Germans did in World War II — vile and sudden. I, like most Ukrainians, was not ready for this.

In the first few days everything was surreal. I hadn’t packed my getaway suitcase, the cell phone wasn’t charged and I definitely had no plan in case Russia attacked us. Itʼs true that over time you get used to everything. But the truth is that you can never be ready for war.

I decided to stay in Ukraine with my family. I realized that I could be much more useful here, and I did not see the option of leaving my loved ones. I am a journalist. Unfortunately, not the one who writes stories from the front line and creates texts that can change the world, but the one who has her own voice and manages one Ukrainian media outlet. Even though I and my colleagues are not in a newsroom, we remain working to give people useful information and help them tell their own story.

Self-sacrifice, devotion and unity are the things that characterize our people.

Today, every Ukrainian is a hero. Many people started volunteering, restaurants fed the military and doctors for free, taxis transported evacuees for free and everyone tried to be helpful. In the second or third week of the war, Ukrainian influencers and the media even began to spread the term “survivor syndrome,” which literally means feeling guilty about being well while someone else is suffering. Some managed to go abroad, some managed to get out of hot spots, and some, like me, were lucky to live in a city that is rarely shelled. All this security, against the background of people and children who die every day at the hands of Russian soldiers, is felt as a guilt because of their own safety.

Cities without fierce fighting are now coming to life again. For example, I recently went to the mall for the first time in a month and even drank coffee in a coffee shop. This used to be my almostdaily ritual. But today it is a luxury that weighs on you, because while you are drinking coffee, someone is praying for their life in a bomb shelter. The life we have today we call a war/life balance.

We still hear sirens several times a day, but now we don’t run to the bomb shelter as often. The initial fear became less. We read positive news from our military and government every day. It’s comforting. But the feeling of unreality is still present. Because you understand that war is not a semester at school, after which you will either pass exams or not. The war can last for months and years, and even after the victory (in which Ukraine and the whole world are confident), the reconstruction of the country will take even longer, and psychological trauma will remain with people for the rest of their lives.

I am infinitely grateful to the people from all over the world who have supported us since the first day of the war. They send humanitarian aid, make donations and protest against the war. Eight years ago, in 2014, when the Revolution of Dignity took place in Ukraine and Russia attacked eastern Ukraine and annexed Crimea, there was no such support. I was 14 then. I understood little, but growing up, I saw how our Ukrainian identity was being transformed. We became friendlier than we were. We began to respect our traditions even more. We have started a new stage of Independent Ukraine.

Today the whole world is with us. We thank foreigners every day on social media and in real life, and tell them how much Ukraine is grateful for their support.

War is not just about weapons and soldiers. War is about testing the unity of the people. Today, one of Russia’s missions is to demoralize us and tell the world that its actions are a good thing and it is trying to help us. Not all Russians still believe that civilians aren’t being killed and cities bombed in Ukraine. More than half of the families divided by borders have stopped communicating. These are statistics.

We do not need Russia’s support or help. We want to end this war, return to our lands and bring back the people who were forced to leave Ukraine.

And we want the whole world to remember Ukraine as a country not “located next to Russia,” but a country in the heart of Europe. A country where the best people live.

Back to blog