Normality Take Two
The return to normality tomorrow feels a lot different to the first time round. Back then I was excited and apprehensive in equal measure; excited that I could go to the gym and the pub, but nervous that no meaningful change would come of so many of us re-evaluating so much of ourselves and our society. This time round, there is a lot more apprehension on my part. Not that there might not be meaningful, positive changes to our society as a result of the coronavirus, as that thought seems naive, and I think we feel so much collective fatigue that finding the energy to enact change is too big an ask. Instead it is a very personal sense of apprehension - I have done well during lockdown, orders of magnitude better than the first time round. Work has been great, and I have enjoyed having so much time to devote to running and reading. It’s been a simple life, I’ve enjoyed it, and I would even go so far as to say that I was thriving.
Tomorrow sees the re-introduction of a lot of moving parts back into my life, invariably making it more complex. I know that I am very sensitive and emotionally fragile - it doesn’t take a lot to upset me or send me spiraling, and with this newfound complexity disrupting my now honed routine, I’m worried that I will thrive no longer. Of course, I don’t have to go back to the way things were before, and I certainly don’t plan on doing so. This second lockdown gave me an opportunity to reflection on my boundaries, relationships, and what it is that actually makes me happy, and my thoughts on those things are all different now to what they were only two months ago.
I’m going to re-acclimatize to “normality” a little at a time, rather than let everything back in at once, and for the next week I plan on living in exactly the same manner as I have in quarantine, with the exception of visiting the climbing gym. My plans to socialise are purely virtual, and I’m in no rush to change that. If next week goes well and I still feel happy, then we’ll see if there’s anything else I decide to add back to my schedule, but even the climbing gym might not stick around - there’s a lot of things that could go wrong there. I’m going to have to make a lot of small talk, as well as potentially see some people I’d rather avoid. I’m inevitably going to feel weak after not having climbed for the past two months, and might find myself it difficult to be self compassionate about it. Less likely, but not impossible, I might pick up an injury or realise I no longer enjoy what I previously did.
There are some things that might change and some things that are definitely going to change, but the latter is for exploring in a future post. I’m sure I’ll write next weekend about whether or not reintegrating with the old normal overwhelms me and upsets the apple cart.