As 2020 drew to a close, quite understandably most of us were looking forward to a New Year free from the extraordinary challenges of the previous twelve months.

However, the surreal conditions that accompanied the pandemic brought something more profound than the simple desire for a return to normal life.

It’s hard to remember now that, just over a year ago, we were all in pretty good shape. The country had got through the general election and with it, the political in-fighting that had dominated the news day in and day just evaporated. Stability had been restored and there was nothing to suggest we couldn’t approach the future with confidence.

Strange how our national inbuilt optimism left us so unprepared for what was lurking around the corner. Suddenly, less than three months later, the entire United Kingdom came to a grinding halt, hoping to keep the unwelcome Covid intruder at bay. Normal routine for most people went out the window as huge adjustments had to be made, especially with regard to the extra time spent at home with our families.

Even talk of Brexit, now relegated to a lower position in the news, became a diversion from the depressing daily TV updates on the rampaging virus.

There was light at the end of the tunnel as the major pharmaceutical companies vied with each other to be first off the blocks to offer a hoped-for vaccine.

At the same time, as winter drew near and the improvement gained over the summer months proved short-lived, another lockdown loomed. Except that this time, there was a noticeable change in our collective mood. It appeared to be one of resignation – acceptance of an unpalatable situation, accompanied by a determination to make the most of what freedoms were still allowed.

Perhaps the main difference in mood this time around is a psychological one, in that we’ve redefined good times as purely those in which there is an absence of anything bad happening to us. But in any event, I suspect that in addition to the immunity promised by the vaccines, the current experience will leave us with a new-found resilience, should we be confronted again with an emergency on anything like the same scale.

John Steinberg© 2021


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