As the anniversary of the original lockdown enforcement is upon us, it is an important time to reflect on the past year and how best to move forward. Adjusting to the new ‘normal’ isn’t as straightforward as one would originally have thought, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing either. Our routines and daily practices have been turned upside, then back again - things are inevitably going to have changed along this strange and continuous journey.
The reality is that some things have permanently shifted, life as we knew it (pre-2020) is no longer. Primarily, the mass loss of people, considering those who risked and are still risking their own well-being for others, the front liners - our sympathy and gratitude can’t even touch the surface of this void. Trying to wrap one’s head around the ins and outs of a global pandemic is hard, we all live in our own bubbles, some self-made, others not - regardless, trying to empathise with the conditions that we have been privileged enough to be quite literally safeguarded from here isn’t easy or comfortable.
Of course, there have been many other forms of loss along the way - companies, beloved establishments, jobs. Attempting to put the pieces back together post lockdown involves grieving on all kinds of levels, it can be painful to digest that some things simply won’t be the same again. Certain changes will feel deeper, others more superficial or temporary, lost within the lockdown. Our social practices have altered too - how much we took for granted the vitality of human interaction before as our world has also become so much smaller. With global travel being a no-go for so long it has been a real wake up call to how far apart we can all be, the distance is real. With the ease of hopping on a plane being taken away - I certainly have had the realisation that we have shrunk the world unnaturally, that this sense of instant access to each and every corner of the earth isn’t sustainable.
Understanding that life is unexpected, unpredictable - that everything can shift within an instant should be a core takeaway or at the very least, a healthy reminder that was quite frankly, well overdue. We don’t have control over everything, there is so much out of reach. With this, there are definite positives that come from enduring tough lockdown conditions, our priorities change, communities have become closer as we share a sense of humanity - one we perhaps didn’t essentially feel or take notice of before. We are learning to take things slowly and slowing down in general whilst truly acknowledging the difference between essential and non-essential in all areas of our lives. It is crucial we critically observe our own behaviour as much as others, our mistakes and victories are just as weighty through this time. And together, having experienced the benefits of life with these values magnified, perhaps we can start to collectively live more minimally, make choices based on compassion - rebuild a world sensitive to its own downfalls and with the courage to dust itself off, and start again.