Another week has passed in self-isolation here in Devon.
People on our street, who we see while having coffee in the garden and shout out the news to (from a safe distance) all say the same thing.
When this is over and we get back to normal, we’ll…. (insert – have a party, see family, whatever).
I’m sorry to have to break it to you guys, but this is the start of the NEW normal.
It’s easy to think that when this is over, nothing will have changed, that life will resume as it was. Now anyone who has ever lost someone will know, things NEVER go back to the way they were. Suggesting that things should have been done differently with the benefit of hindsight will do us no good at all.
It’s perhaps difficult for everyone to comprehend but we all have lost something, not just those who have sadly lost a friend or relative but collectively, we have lost a way of life.
In the same way that in 1918, England was changed forever, this pandemic will see us emerge on the other side as a very different country (and world) to how we were going in.
It’s quite possible that a lot of what we remember will never reappear, familiar shops or companies might not survive. No doubt others will take their place, it will take time as we reset.
Is that necessarily a bad thing? Not if we don’t want it to be. If we chose which bits of this experience to keep. Like the sense of community, of helping each other, offering to get shopping for neighbours, the realisation that we’re all in it together.
We could lose the selfish, planet destroying attitude and live a bit more gently, having seen what just a few weeks of reduced consumption can do for pollution and the environment, wouldn’t it be nice to carry on making things better?
Do we really need to return to the worst excesses of modern living, to the incessant travelling to meetings for instance, now that we know we can do it just as well via Skype or Zoom? Do we need to shave 20 minutes off the journey time from London to Birmingham when we can talk together without leaving home?
Couldn’t that money be better spent preparing for the next time something like this happens? Or even, and this is really radical, valuing those that do the actual work? Helping local businesses and small food suppliers to recover by showing that we value them.
I must admit that I have a vested interest in the NHS, it saved my life after I was knocked off a motorbike. My wife is a retired nurse, my daughters all work in the health service. My eldest is a nurse on I.T.U. and is married to a consultant physician. My middle daughter is a midwife (she delivered a baby girl as the clapping finished on Thursday) while my youngest is a second-year student nurse. I’m so proud of them all for what they do without thinking of the cost.
They, along with a long list of everyone we don’t normally notice are the backbone of this country, not the bankers or politicians. They have kept everything running, they deserve recognition, praise and thanks, it would be nice to think that will still be forthcoming when the worst is over.
It will probably be the first real test of whether we have learned anything from this.
I hope everyone who reads this is coping and that your families are OK, stay inside and stay safe.
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