It’s hard to believe that it has been a year since we first went into a national lockdown in England. But here we are, one year on and life as we once knew it feels like a distant memory. The shops remain largely closed. The pubs and restaurants have closed their doors. Any normal form of social contact is essentially non-existent. I know of course that all of this is for the greater good but after twelve months of having our lives severely restricted, it’s really beginning to grate.
I think I’m at a stage now where if everything suddenly went back to the way it was the pandemic hit I would feel genuinely unsettled. I’ve become so accustomed to living life under lockdown conditions that just the thought of finding myself in the middle of a crowd would actually terrify me. Even the thought of walking into the supermarket and not seeing everyone wearing facemasks seems completely alien to me.
It’s strange how easily we can adapt isn’t it? I don’t think any of us actually thought that twelve months on from that initial announcement we would still be required to stay at home and essentially put our lives on hold.
I think the past year has probably changed us all to some degree. Certainly in terms of social interaction my level of tolerance has significantly reduced. Primarily in terms of hygiene and cleanliness. Of course like anyone I’ve always practised good hygiene. Washing my hands thoroughly after going to the toilet or before eating anything with my hands. But since Covid I’m increasingly conscious of other people’s hygiene standards as well. I guess because we are all so aware of how easily the virus can be transmitted just by touching something. So I’m wary of, say, drinking a coffee from any cup that doesn’t belong to me or eating something that somebody other than me or my partner has made.
Anything that comes into the house now has to be cleaned and sanitised before use. Each and every food packet from the supermarket. Any items ordered from Amazon or other online retailers. Even bottles of bleach or cleaning chemicals are given the antibacterial wipe treatment before being placed in the cupboard.
No trip to the shops is complete now without a strict rigmarole of wet wipes and hand sanitizer the moment we get back to the car. I know this might all sound like overkill, but I guess that’s what happens when you’ve had the fear of God put into you about cleanliness for a year. To be honest it would feel really strange now not to carry on with these routines when life does eventually return to normal.
The pandemic has changed us. It’s changed both the way that we behave ourselves and the way in which we judge other people’s behaviour. It has made us consider each and every one of our actions, and the consequences of those actions.
Ultimately though, it has reminded us that we are not invincible and that life, be it our own or those around us, is incredibly precious.