While Covid-19 is still very much part of our present, and our future, nevertheless we can reflect on what we’ve learnt from living through lockdown
All of our lives have changed this year, each of us adapting to living through a pandemic and trying to make peace with the unpredictable. For some, this might have amounted to little more than inconvenience but for others it has been a time of unimaginable tragedy and life-changing consequences.
We are still coming to terms with how our society has been disrupted. Each day presents a fresh trauma, a new U-turn and another demonstration of the far-reaching impact of Covid-19. No generation is unaffected, no aspect of life is protected, no industry is insulated and, for the foreseeable future, few things feel certain.
The situation is serious, and will remain serious for some time yet, but it is not without humour nor hope. Here are some of the things that lockdown has taught me, or helped me realise, in no particular order:
- Children have little patience for, and derive little entertainment from, watching you work.
- Or watching you rest. Or eat.
- A surprising amount of things can be delivered to your doorstep. A disappointing amount of them will be things you actually needed.
- Essential workers shouldn’t have to wait for a pandemic to get the appreciation they deserve.
- Wearing a mask is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Refusing to wear a mask because you are a defender of freedom is not.
- Seeing your own face in video calls is engrossing and disturbing. Also my face is much bigger than I thought.
- People are generally resilient.
- WiFi routers are generally not resilient.
- Those of us who avoided any serious harm to ourselves, families and friends should be thankful. And we should remember that there were many who did not share our good fortune.
- Stable employment is a blessing bestowed on too few people.
- The pandemic forced a change to more sustainable behaviours in travel, commerce and the workplace – we should strive to preserve them when they once again become choices rather than necessities.
- Members of your household cannot be expected to provide a serviceable haircut.
- It has been wonderful to see green shoots of a post-post-truth era. Scientists have shared stages with presidents and prime ministers, governments are promoting evidence-based policy, the public have been hungry for science and statistics.
- The ‘normal’ routine of family life, with our time together limited to a few matutinal and vespertinal hours, no longer feels normal nor sufficient.
- The use of ‘Zoom’ as a verb is something I am still coming to terms with.
- Scientists, clinicians and health and social care workers will get us through this crisis. Celebrities will not. We should adjust our value systems accordingly.
- We’ve realised we can travel less, work remotely, think differently and thrive digitally. We’ve found new ways to be productive and to share our lives and share in the lives of others.
- I miss seeing my friends.
- There are moments where it seems you have been sat at the kitchen table juggling work, family and endless Zoom calls for an eternity and the urge to escape is overwhelming. In those moments see points 9 and 10 and 14.