2 weeks ago

A Reader Writes: Desperately Seeking a Normal Life


I’m tired of this virtual life.
My phone pinging with WhatsApp memes. Clever and witty observations making us laugh out loud, at the start.
Zoom Pilates and video calls with time delays and talking over each other.
I miss real people. Real conversation.
I cannot wait to sit in a cafe with friends and have a meal and some wine, chat face to face and laugh, and touch without fear.

I’m tired of lockdown shopping – long queues, one-way sticker paths and masked assistants behind transparent divides.
I miss shelves full of everything you need, including toilet roll and Dettol wipes!
I cannot wait to browse aimlessly amongst the fashion rails.

I’m tired of home schooling.
I miss the morning run routine and school-gate conversations, end-of-year shows and special assemblies.
I cannot wait to wash uniforms and check homework, ask “How was your day?” and listen to the trials and tribulations.

I’m tired of talking to my mother from an open door, two metres apart.
A bag of groceries deposited on her doorstep. Wiping touchpoints on my exit.
Walking away as she waves from a window and gives a thumbs up, a lump in my throat, tears spilling out when I am out of sight.
I miss giving her a hug.
I cannot wait to pull her close and wrap my arms around her, tightly.

I’m tired of being in lockdown, the same four walls.
I miss my freedom of movement.
I cannot wait to drive to a beach, to sit and watch the waves or walk on the sand, shoes dangling from my hand and salt air filling my lungs.

I’m just plain tired of it all.

But this attitude isn’t going to get us through the next few weeks.
Keep calm and carry on.
Think of how much we have gained from this crazy time of Covid-19:

Our loved ones.
Days spent together, talking and playing board games, all sitting round the table at dinner time.
Zoom family quizzing. Virtual exercising. New recipes, the smell of homemade bread.

Our quiet heroes.
Those who played a truly important role, nurses and doctors, carers and teachers … the list is long.
We value them now, with their willing bravery and selfless contribution.

Our community spirit.
Thursday evenings, clapping and banging lids to say thanks. Rainbows in windows. Neighbours meeting for the first time.
Food banks, donations, looking out for each other.

Our leaders.
Clarity and decisiveness. Leo’s speech, one to remember.
Inspirational senior citizens climbing a virtual Everest, pushing walking frames round gardens to raise millions.

Our mental health.
Taking time to talk, sharing worries and websites.
Making it OK not to be OK.
Normal People’s Connell raffling his chain for Pieta.

Our creativity.
Having time to explore and express how we feel through words, art and music.
Online performances, a once-in-a-lifetime concert. Global and united.

Our gardens.
Connecting to nature. Fingers in the dirt. Planting and growing.
Seeing with fresh eyes the beauty of trees and flowers.
Loving our green spaces.

Our friends.
Two-metre conversations over fences and across gates.
Delivering medicines and essential supplies.
Sharing cakes and plates of food.
Moaning about lockdown hair!

Our daily exercise.
Hand-in-hand couples, family groups or alone.
Dogs desperately straining on leads.
Cyclists on bikes for the first time in years.
All delighted to be doing a lap around the streets.
The joy of being outside, breathing in the fresh air and sunshine.

Our planet.
Clean air. Pollution levels at an all-time low.
Mountains visible for the first time.
Fish returning to the waters of Venice.
Birds in abundance in our gardens. Chirping loudly.

We didn’t appreciate what we had in our very normal lives.


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