Four months. Four months we have told tall tales of loving the slower pace of life, promised we would take nothing for granted and that we would be full of gratitude for every simple blessing post covid-19.
I can’t help wondering if the words were easier to say than to actually put in to practice. And let’s face it, we are still in the middle of the global pandemic as proven by the rising daily cases worldwide, despite the daily headlines telling us all to get back to normal as much as we can. Go to the pub, go out for dinner, go back to work, go on holiday, get your hair cut…
And that in itself is causing me no end of turmoil, because whilst the pubs and restaurants need us to get back into them, let’s not forget we can only socialise with one household at a time indoors – which includes in a restaurant, pub or even holiday home. Something which I’ve had to re refer to on a almost daily basis as I watch the world around me trying to convince me otherwise.
But it’s okay because we can meet outdoors. But only in a random number of 6. Something which seems absurd and fairly unreasonable, and unsurprisingly, being stretched way beyond it’s boundaries left right and centre.
Grandparents are caring for their young grandchildren, having them for sleepovers, supporting their desperate working children with childcare – but from a totally unrealistic metre away?
It’s all so confusing.
And yet, whilst the main headline is telling us to support small businesses by dining out, four headlines below are reporting the inevitable second wave. It’s hardly enough to send you racing out for dinner, with the same people you have dined with every night for four months – because you can’t legitimately dine out with anyone else unless they are a party of two from one other household.
In short, this middle ground is a choppy sea to navigate.
One one hand we are cancelling and postponing events, holidays, plans, and on the other we are grabbing whatever freedoms and moments with family and friends that we can, whilst being sensible and trying really hard to adhere to the rules without losing friends and alienating people.
We have however clung on to the our favourite moments of lockdown – evening walks and making the most of unusual times of the day together, rain or shine and creating special moments together as a family. I truly hope this is one practice that remains with us long after 2020.
I’ve even said, at points that I preferred the clear cut restrictions of full down lockdown, but that is in fact a blatant lie, as proven by the sunny garden days with our parents, or seeing people we have missed, one socially distanced soiree at a time. There is no denying that having those connections has been what we all needed to lift our mood and to bring those we love closer to us again. Whilst, of course, staying a good distance away.
We have remained outdoors where we can, but tentatively stepped into the threshold, disinfectant in hand and mindful of the steps that need to be taken to protect each other. But it’s tricky – hard to know whether you are taking things too far, on either side of the fence.
We have had a very small taste of childcare back, and we are dreaming of a time when childcare might even leverage a small window of time for us as a couple, not two people working in separate corners of the house.
The girls even had a couple of days in school to meet their new teachers and reconnect with the structure that will (please God) be open to them come September. And if it isn’t, I really worry how that will feel, facing another stint of home schooling and working, knowing how tough we have found it. first time around.
But ultimately, despite our best intentions and care, in the balance of things, is it enough to prevent a second wave? When the cooler weather comes and we can’t distinguish covid from a standard snotty winter cold?
It’s enough to make you want to hide under the duvet, which is how many people I’ve spoken to are feeling, but in almost equal measures, it makes me us want to go and live life to the full this summer, while we can.
And of course, with so many people sharing their joyful moments of liberation from lockdown, that gives rise to a whole new wave of negativity – of wondering why you aren’t doing what they are all doing. If sourbread starter posts were enough to question your lockdown status, then drinks in a pub garden are the coming out of lockdown equivalent.
And yet… we promised we would embrace the simpler things in life didn’t we? That we would not fill up our lives with super fast, exhaustion making, weekend filling, monday morning dreading, not a free spot on the calendar for six weeks living. Yet we are already talking ‘getting dates in’ for September.
We learnt so much in lockdown, and yet, did we learn nothing?