Last week’s announcement from the Prime Minister that schools will remain closed and lockdown will effectively be extended until the 8th March will come as a surprise to no one.
Infection rates, while improving quite dramatically, are still high and the number of hospital admissions and sadly deaths are still shocking.
However, I do hope that we can begin to see some light at the end of the tunnel. The fact that the government plans to publish a plan in the week commencing 22nd February is good news as at least it does show that there is some level of thought going into how the country can tentatively begin to re-open.
What is safe to say is that the process will be gradual and I suspect quite painful, but at least we can hopefully get some idea of the timescales when this report is published in a few weeks’ time.
If we assume that this will be the ‘last lockdown’ (I know no one really knows, but the Government seems pretty intent on not releasing this lockdown until they have confidence we will not need to go into another one), now is the time to begin thinking about what elements you want to put back in ‘your box’ as life begins to return to normal.
Imagine your life is a box and in it were all of the things that featured in your life before lockdown – you remember – overseas travel, eating out with friends, theatre visits. As lockdown struck, many of those elements had to be taken out and laid on the dining room table and they were replaced with a new ‘lockdown life’. Perhaps this involved cooking at home more, watching more films, more exercise – you get the idea.
Everything I have mentioned above would generally be considered ‘good things’, enjoyable, pleasurable. Now of course, both our pre and post lockdown lives probably contained some not-so-good elements as well. Perhaps you were not as fit or healthy as you wanted to be or maybe you didn’t have time to pursue a passion or hobby.
As we come out of lockdown and life (fingers crossed) begins to return to some sort of normality, you get to decide what that normality should look like. You get to choose what elements go back in your box.
So imagine all of the components of your pre-lockdown life and also everything that has changed since March last year. All of these things are now laid out before you on the table. You can decide what you want to feature in your ‘new normal’. There are no rules or guidance to follow, only what you think is right.
The words ‘new normal’ have been overused to the point of exhaustion now, but, as the world has gone through crises in the past, things have always changed, usually for the better.
You see, crises make us see things differently. We learn things about ourselves and about each other that we didn’t know before. We become aware of possibilities that seemed like impossibilities only a few short months ago.
I wrote last time (Here We Go Again, Again (Again)) about making the most of the opportunity that lies in what could be the final weeks of lockdown. I would also suggest that, during that time, we all consider how we want life to look in the future. You have a blank canvas in front of you – what will you create?