Complete lock down feels like a distant and surreal memory to me now. Thinking back it doesn’t seem real that I spent 12 weeks isolating in the house and trying to keep safe from the virus that has devastated the world. While we are still seeing localised lock downs in some areas of the UK, most of us have gone back to a ‘new normal’ way of living. I’ve been reflecting on how things are now compared to the beginning of the year and there are a few things that I prefer now in the ‘new normal’.
“I hope we still…” keep the world a cleaner place. Don’t get me wrong, the thought of how many wipes and single use face masks will be polluting the earth after this year makes me not very happy, but I prefer the fact that everywhere feels much cleaner. Shops are regularly wiped down, my home is sparkling and everyone is washing their hands much more often which can only be a good thing. So long as we make sustainable decisions when it comes to washable face masks and more Eco-friendly cleaning, this is something I’d love to see continue long into the future!
“I hope we still…” give each other more space. I found that when the two metre rule went down to one metre (with additional measures), everyone seemed to stop social distancing as much. The reason behind the reduction in distance isn’t because it’s just as safe as being two metres away from people, it’s because the government realised that shops and restaurants wouldn’t be able to have as many people in at two metres apart therefore they wouldn’t make as much money. We do all have to wear face masks when in enclosed spaces which makes me feel much safer, but I have yet to see people consistently putting them on and leaving them alone. Fiddling with your face mask or pulling it down to speak defeats the point of wearing them. The whole gist of this rant, is that I hope we still give each other more space (physically) in the future because it is much nicer than having strangers invading your personal bubble.
“I hope we still…” show understanding to each other. The first time I ventured out into the world after 12 weeks of being in the house, I went to the post office. I thought I’d be in and out, I could wear my mask if I needed to and it would be quite quiet at the time of day I went. It was quiet, but the girl on the till was checking all the money in the till was correct so she said she’d be with me in a couple of minutes. As I stood in the shop waiting, I could hear people coming in to buy something, my anxiety went crazy and I burst into tears in a panic. Now normally, this would be strange behaviour, but the cashier completely understood why I was upset and scared (once I told her it was the first time I had been out) and put everything to one side to take my parcel so I could leave. It was so nice that she understood and didn’t just give me a strange look. I really hope this sort of understanding continues long into the future because I reckon it would make a lot of people (not just me) feel much better about being out in the world.
“I hope we still…” appreciate the little things. Having a catch up with a friend over a cuppa. Popping round to see a loved one. Wandering around a garden centre with my Mum. The simple things were the things I missed the most during lock down. These were the things that made life feel normal and like everything was OK so when they were taken away and replaced with uncertainty, I very much felt out of control of my life. Being able to have more freedom now has definitely made me and everyone else feel better about life and the future but it’s absolutely something that I won’t ever take for granted again.
“I hope we still…” spend more time together instead of on superficial things. I often think back to days I spent walking around a shopping centre, looking for things to buy and wonder why I spent my time that way. Because it was more difficult to buy things during lock down, I realised just how much money I wasted on pointless purchases I’d buy because I thought I needed them or that they’d make me feel better some how. Don’t get me wrong, I will still go shopping when I need something but I will no longer have the urge to mindlessly wander around the place, looking to spend money. My view of money has changed slightly so I look at purchases with the hours taken to earn the money in mind. If something isn’t worth my time, I won’t buy it. I spent much more time with my partner doing simple things, walking, reading together, baking and all of that time spent was so much more valuable.
“I hope we still…” slow down more. There’s not much more I will say about this. Living more slowly has changed my life for the better and I will absolutely be continuing with it!
So those are just a few things that I hope we still do once lock down is a distant and dusty memory and life as we knew it returns. I certainly have made changes to the way I live, for the better and I hope other people have had the chance to reflect like I have.