Our fingers are hurting, cramping, sore and red from holding down the pause button on our lives. It seems everyone is ready to press play and get back to the life they knew that we’ve been deprived of for over a year. But this blog isn’t about the best fake tan to use for your first night out; what this summer’s best fashion accessories might be or the best bars to visit when they open. This is about not feeling ready at the thought of life being normal, even, dare I say, dreading it.
Last March was a lot to process. Within days, everyone had to drop everything they were doing, abandon everyone they were with and isolate. At the time of the announcement, I was at my university house in West Sussex on the phone to my mum frantically trying to plan where I would be isolating. Truly believing the purge was about to begin, I got in my car that evening and drove to East Sussex where my parents were planning to spend the short THREE WEEKS of lockdown. Well, those three weeks turned into three months. And those three months were full of adaptations: finishing my degree remotely; moving back in with parents; being away from friends and being cautious about not contracting the virus.
But just as we had to adapt to slowing down, we are now having to adjust to speeding up. A visual representation of how this can feel is a video of someone on a treadmill, going 3 speeds too fast, with their legs barely keeping up with each other, resulting in face planting the floor. This is exactly how I felt when I started to get messages pouring in wanting to plan holidays, festivals and days out. FOMO (fear of missing out) hasn’t been experienced for a year now. Balancing social life, work-life, family life, love life hasn’t been practised. Planning and organising weekly schedules were easy. Commuting to work wasn’t on the cards. Financial planning for leisure activities went extinct. So, with news of lockdown lifting, there is a lot to prepare for.
I did a poll on my Instagram, to ask who is feeling anxious about coming out of lockdown. 90% of people voted for yes. I found this surprising and somewhat comforting. I thought that my anxieties and worries were making me overthink the change that is coming. But it seems this is prevalent amongst other people, even those that ARE still excited to party and socialise. And believe me. I am!
In moments that feel overwhelming, we must remember that each step has a 6-week break between the next. This will allow adjustments to be easier. You can think about seeing 6 friends for a while before having to face garden parties with 20+ people. Similarly, pubs will be opening before clubs, and festivals and holidays aren’t entirely promised as of yet. The idea that SUDDENLY life will be back to normal on June 21st is not realistic. We will have weeks in the run-up to adjust to normal life, and even after June 21st, it will all be a process.
So, let’s support each other. We need to be mindful that though we are ready to reunite and plan exciting things, it might take a long time for people to adapt again. Don’t shame people for saying no to going out, give people plenty of time to organise and plan if you want to see them and let’s not forget to press the pause button now and then for ourselves. This lockdown has made us take a step back, reflect on our lives and make changes. When the busy schedules return, let’s still take time to rest and reflect.