10 things to look forward to
1. Being in crowds will inspire us
Being trained in the art of remaining two metres away from the next human being will give all of us a new appreciation of other people’s personal space. At the same time, after lockdown, crowds will take on a more human face. They will be a reminder to us that beyond our individuality we are all deep down in fact very social animals. And if someone steps on our foot by mistake, instead of tutting and staring them out, we’ll probably shake their hand and thank them.
2. The important things will be more visible to us
When we’re finally all allowed out and about again, we’ll be more acutely attuned to what matters most around us. Our attention will be drawn to the birds in the sky and the trees in the distance – after all these were our companions during our solitary walks for months on end – and we will never forget them again. Their sensual delight and the mindfulness they inspire will keep us calm into our new life.
3. Changes to plans won’t bother us
Never again will we be thrown by a last-minute alteration to a work deadline or social engagement. After the all-encompassing changes to our lives that we have experienced over the last couple of months, anything of this nature will be a drop in the ocean. Adaptability and flexibility will become bywords in the personal lexicon of how we describe ourselves to others.
4. We’ll keep in touch more
Now that they’re all tech savvy, we will be able to keep in touch with all our relatives whenever we like, regardless of how far away they live. Now that they’ve all got Zoom accounts, our aunts and uncles, parents and grandparents, could be living next door to us. A Zoom meeting first thing Saturday morning with Aunt Jean will be commonplace.
5. Taking it in turns to speak will be customary
When we actually get back to socialising with each other face-to-face, it won’t be the same either. We won’t spend the entire night talking over each other to make some obscure point about Brexit. Firstly, we’ll have forgotten our opinions on Brexit (well, haven’t we?), and secondly, Zoom will have trained us all in the etiquette of allowing people to speak in turn. Ok, our friends won’t have a coloured box around them anymore, but we’ll instinctively know when it’s time to listen and time to step in.
6. We will appreciate what we do more
Just because we had all the time in the world to do all the things we said we would do when we had the time, it didn’t quite work out like that. It wasn’t time after all that was stopping us but inclination. With this new-found self-knowledge, we will have a greater understanding of, and focus on, the things we actually do get done.
7. Exercise will not just be something other people do
£30 a month for a gym membership will no longer be an excuse for us to think of exercise as something only people with ridiculous amounts of disposable income can do. All those ‘keep fit’ apps that were recommended to us during lockdown will still be on our phones; and for a fraction of the price of a gym membership we can pump and strut to our heart’s content in our living rooms.
8. We’ll have a longer fuse
In the new world order, it will take more than someone wrestling us to get a seat on the tube on Monday morning to push our buttons. In fact, compared to surviving a global pandemic, the rush hour will be a breeze. Because we’ll all remember that due to the goodwill and responsibility of everyone during the crisis, we got through it. All of us, in it together.
9. Spending time on our own will be normal
For many of us life under lockdown has been the first chance for years we have had to spend some quality time with ourselves on a regular basis. Whether this has led to a fruitful outcome of some kind or just staring into empty space, it is unlikely we will ever forget how important this time out is for our mental health and wellbeing even when all the normal demands of life resume.
10. Thursday evenings will bring a smile to our face
On the journey home on Thursday evening, a little frazzled by the working week, we won’t just be thinking about how we’re going to make it to the weekend. Instead we will hear a pair of solitary palms coming together, followed by another and another, until they build to a thunderous crescendo. And then we’ll remember how every Thursday evening we celebrated our NHS and our brilliant health workers. We might even find our hands twitching with a clap coming on and a smile creeping across our face.