With the end of lockdown and the return to normal in sight, one can’t help wondering whether things will ever be the same. Certainly, for people like me and I suspect for many others, the episode has left us with more questions than answers.
To begin with, I’m not sure how much of the previous normal is worth retaining. Of course when liberty, that we’ve taken for granted, is suddenly swept from under our feet, its understandable that our first reaction is to feel aggrieved. But maybe that’s because we were attaching too much importance to what in many cases was merely engrained habit.
This is no way underestimating the huge sense of loss inflicted on those families who were separated because of the pandemic or the struggle encountered by those with young families unable to send their children to school.
However, for the more fortunate of us to whom lockdown was perhaps no more than an inconvenience, it’s surprising, how quickly the new norm became the accepted norm. For instance, no longer required to negotiate the rush hour five days a week has been replaced with flexible working at home to such an extent that for those people, home could be almost anywhere. The result is plain to see with a huge property surge occurring mainly away from the capital. Now there appears to be a change of priority to put quality life first and the freedom to achieve it.
Of no less importance, is that we’ve had to become more self reliant; by which I mean having more time on our hands, perhaps has presented the opportunity to try something new, whether it be a creative pursuit that had remained on hold or cultivating new friendships and helping others that had been made possible by the pandemic and had brought a new sense of togetherness, missing from our previously busy lives. The point is that although circumstances are different, we are no less at liberty to choose and may actually find that our lives have become enriched as a result of exercising our newly found freedom.
How the ability to expand our horizons has often only come about through adversity, however, is the challenge that has faced previous generations throughout history.
The hope is that it’s not destined to remain so.
John Steinberg ©2021.