Is this a rebirth, a nightmare or an exercise in control?
The longer we endured our more solitary lives in full lockdown, ahead of the relaxing of certain rules, the more we began to ask questions. How did this happen? When will it end? Should we be lowering our expectations about the level of normality we could return to? In all honesty, I’m still asking these…
While silver-lining-seekers are shouting from the rooftops that this is our chance to be reborn — and they might be right — others are unable to pierce through the doom of this nightmarish reality. And as for an exercise in control, the government has us grasped within the palm of its hand.
Although this unprecedented situation has had a colossal impact on every individual on the planet, you may be somebody who wakes up daily with energy surging through your veins. Likewise, you might feel so dejected that the only thing that could feel remotely joyous would be a few extra hours of sleep. Irrespective, at some point, our minds told us that lockdown was — and still is — the recipe for nightmares: incredibly limited freedom, uncertainty and hopelessness. This is fuelled by the fact that we’re still in a continuous loop of dwindling routines, Netflix and baking sugary treats that we know will cling instantly to our hips. Hands up who’s a Pilates convert? And what about face masks — who’s put an old t-shirt to good use?
We’re desperately hunting for coping mechanisms. But if you can’t shake the feeling that you’re wasting time, it’s because, effectively, you are. Nobody chose this. In situations where people grieve or suffer a trauma of sorts, they may learn to fight this so-called ‘temporal disintegration’. It’s a scientific phenomenon that states we reach a stage where we can no longer make future-focused decisions or look beyond certain points.
While we grapple with this cycle and get used to begrudgingly pursuing it each day, we begin to lose our motivation to argue against this whole sorry affair being okay. All the while, we know deep down that the reason we’re forced to accept this ‘Normal 2.0’ is because we have no choice — our government is telling us this is the best way to proceed to minimise the death toll, rate of infection and aide the NHS. Sure, we get some crumbs of hope thrown in now, but the pubs will either be awkward or unbearable, drive-in gigs won’t simulate the same in-the-crowd feeling, and how cordoned-off will we be at a restaurant table? The only thing I know for sure is that Hermes delivery drivers’ slapdash approach to dropping parcels now actually works a dream. Although I’m completely in favour of this tentative ease of lockdown, I see the other side of the coin, too: there’s a chance it’s a ticking time bomb until we’re all pitted against the virus when normality resumes properly.
So, is lockdown a nightmare? Yes, for many who’ve lost jobs, been furloughed, placed on indefinite leave or even had their pay cut, it’s an unmitigated economic disaster. And for those who’ve battled with the virus itself, struggled through the anguish of someone they’re close to going through it, or have even lost somebody, it’s hard to select the right words that could describe their pain. It’s gut-wrenching to learn of how many lives have been claimed — not just in the UK, but worldwide — and I can’t come to terms with that. I refuse to. This never should’ve happened.
What about lockdown being an exercise in control? Well, what greater way to string-pull the public like defenceless puppets than to inflict a lockdown? That’s certainly one way to see it. Having said that, without measures of control, the lives of so many more could’ve been taken by now. If only strict ruling had been put in place sooner.
On a much chirpier note, I’m not sure I’d say I’ve felt reborn at any stage, but could any of you get on board with viewing this as a rebirth (albeit an unwanted one)? Was anybody actually crying out for change, but didn’t know how to take the plunge? Ultimately, it’s food for thought. Now is the ideal, pivotal time to whip your home exercise regime into shape (call me sad, but I miss the gym, even in spite of my new daily routine), alter your eating habits, grow out your fringe, hone a skill, reconnect with old pals via social media, read a book, ditch the make-up… and so forth.
Whatever happens, that annoying ‘you do you’ saying actually means something now — you just need to get through the rest of lockdown however you can. Stay safe, reach out to people you care about, focus on yourself, watch the news sparingly, be sceptical, ask questions and, frankly, make of all this what you will. If it all feels a little controversial, that’s okay. Be patient, respectful and kind, but just don’t be too hasty to risk your own health and that of others…