Change feels uncomfortable because we instinctively cling to the things that are comfortable and familiar and fear losing them. It’s scary to contemplate an uncertain future — it might be better than what we have now but it may also be a lot worse.
There could be pots of gold over the horizon but there could also be dragons laying in wait.
2020 will be remembered as a year when life as we know it changed for good.
In the spring we went into lockdown — it was unsettling, unfamiliar and uncomfortable but we got used to it. Here in the UK, the government stepped in to prop up individuals and businesses and help us through. For a while there was a sense of community and public-spiritedness that felt positive — like a step forwards.
Life was still difficult, but we got by — together.
We diligently followed controlling measures and eventually things returned to new kind of normal. Pubs and restaurants opened and we socialised once again. Shops reopened, and people returned to work. Life was good until we got complacent. We forgot what it had taken to tame the virus and gradually let our guard down.
Now it’s back. Did it ever really go away?
As region after region re-enter shades of lockdown, many are looking once again to the government in the hope of guarantees. Assurances that the proposed measures will work. That incomes will be supplemented. That we’ll be able to enjoy Christmas with our families.
We’re looking around for the safety net once again. But that net is well-used and unravelling. The money is running out, as is the patience for a solution.
There’s only so long we can pretend that our old ways of life and the jobs that sustained them will all remain viable. Should we even expect that things will return to normal as we once defined it?
- Shopping may no longer be a viable leisure pursuit — wandering the high street or the shopping mall may become a thing of the past. We may have to redefine our needs and our wants in material terms?
- Maybe we don’t need 30 pubs to cater for the social needs of a town of 21,000 (the approximate ratio where I live) — Is going out to drink with friends a viable way to pass an evening?
- Eating out may be reserved for special occasions rather than the norm for two or three evenings each week. Perhaps it’s time we became reacquainted with home-cooking?
- Mass public transport may cease to be useful or necessary with home working negating the commute, and lives focused on living at a local, community level.
- Jobs and businesses may have to disappear in leisure and retail in favour of those industries that sustain local communities — farming and processing food locally, artisans and trades who can claim a larger share of their regional market by providing the services that are needed rather than desired.
Perhaps we need fewer barmen and baristas and more carers, nurses, teachers and farmers?
Covid-19 will inevitably fade into distant memory with time, stricter observation of controlling measures and hopefully, a vaccine. Either that or our lives will evolve to exist with it in uncomfortable acceptance.
Will any of us feel confident that there won’t one day be a Covid-20, 25 or 30 that could wreak similar havoc in future?
We’ve become used to saying we have to “wait and see” what will happen. Nothing is certain right now, except that nothing is certain.
In the face of that uncertainty, maybe now is the time to embrace change and redefine how we live and what we expect from life?