Lockdown has come to an end. A sentence that, during this long year, I never thought I would write. As we resume normal life evidence of Covid-19 is everywhere. Bulletins that didn’t exist pre-2020 still clutter our evening news – death tolls and infection rates. Reminders to wear masks are plastered on every entrance and I have bought more hand sanitiser in the last 18 months than I did in the last 18 years. My son seems to think every lotion is sanitiser and on entering the house he will wash his hands far more diligently than a pre-covid toddler would.
So, what now? Well, for my little family at-least, it is to chug along, slower than usual but safer too. We are back to socialising and one of my greatest joys with lockdown lifting has been seeing how happy my son is to be able to openly play again with his friends and our family. Having gone into lockdown at exactly 12 months old he has spent more than half his life having Zoom playdates – something that is no fun for a toddler eager to play football, build sandcastles and wrestle.
For me the end of lockdown has bought a sense of purpose and gratitude. Whilst restrictions were tough, we followed them precisely and sombrely. We were, and are still, in the low-risk group and yet every sniffle over the last year bought on a sense of doom. I was (and am still) so grateful for all our front-line staff, from NHS workers to street cleaners to bus drivers. To every man and woman than carried on taking risks to provide a service to their community and country. To our brilliant scientists, both in the UK and abroad, who developed the miracle that is a vaccine, to help our bodies to bolster the infection. Not forgetting my lovely neighbours who would come outside so we could have shouted conversations across fences and doorsteps.
The enforced slowness of lockdown has reminded and shown me of all the little joys in life. Of how it is so easy to forever want to reach for the next step, the next rung on the ladder, the next shiny gadget. Of how we all often forget, pardon the cliché, to stop and smell the roses. I have promised to never forget my time in lockdown, a time I’m ashamed to admit I began by bemoaning. I have vowed to always remember the lessons in patience, hope and gratitude it taught me. Something that I find slips away without intentional effort. Already I find myself getting annoyed at traffic jams – when this time last year I couldn’t leave the house. But it is something I am working on and will continue to do so.
Alongside reflecting on my blessings, lockdown has given me a new zeal for action! I am so excited to be doing, moving, laughing and loving again. It has been lovely to throw myself into making memories with my son, working, journaling, dancing, baking, cooking and so much more with full enthusiasm and zest. I have no space for social awkwardness anymore – if my heart desires something that will bring me happiness and no one harm – I do it.
How has post-lockdown life made you feel? Do you feel you are the same person now as you were before it happened? What has changed?