Corona Journal, 10 May: Stockholm Syndrome

Last night, BoJo gave another pre-recorded statement about the potential softening of some lockdown measures that raised more questions than it answered and left many people without the clarity they were hoping for (though perhaps not expecting).

In the wake of his speech, I’m just going to come out and say what’s on my mind: I’m scared of the end of lockdown. It’s true that I miss my friends and family like mad, and I miss travel and parties and going to the pub and restaurants and beers in the park, I miss netball games and book club and ‘working’ in coffee shops. Equally, lockdown has reminded me of how resilient I (and people in general) can be, and it’s also been a reminder of which things I really value (financial security, yes; overpriced coffee, no; spending time with my favourite people, yes; watching whatever is popular on Netflix at the moment, no). It’s a bit of a basic thing to say, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

Even though I miss aspect of BC (Before Corona) life, lockdown feels normal(ish) to me now. This slower pace has been really shitty in many (many, many) ways, but there have been very small improvements that I wouldn’t mind bringing into the future. For example, I don’t think anything of queueing to get into supermarkets any more, and personally I’d be happy to keep a 10-minute wait outside Aldi if it means we can have such a serene experience in the store itself rather than the usual hellscape it turns out to be. I worry about my emotional reactions to the end of lockdown: will I be overwhelmed by choice when there are so many things to buy and places to go? Was I always overwhelmed by all that stuff but didn’t realise it? Will I be more protective of my time and money because I have a new understanding of what is important to me, or will I be so happy to have choices of different things to spend time and money on that those resources will run through my hands like water?

Initially, the pandemic and lockdown was a huge shock to the system. Now, to me at least, it feels like whole world is just buffering, drifting in a state of limbo while we wait for things to return to normal. But honestly, I’m not scared of lockdown ending because of health-related reasons like a second peak (probably because I’m very lucky not to have been much affected by the disease itself), I’m selfishly scared about dealing with the repercussions of the pandemic. Things won’t go back to how they were for me and so many others. When lockdown ends, I’m back to square one; I’ll be an unemployed person with no savings, facing the soul-crushing task of applying for jobs all over again after losing the dream job I spent the better part of 18 months searching for. It’s impossible for a non-expert like me to say what the future will hold in terms of the job market or the economy, but with so many people out of work and so much money having been spent by the government, it certainly seems as though jobs will be hard to come by and austerity is a very real possibility (even though BoJo has explicitly said that won’t be the case).

In the meantime, though, this is just my life now. I question how valuable the Corona Journal is – at first the whole experience was novel, a bizarre and exciting and anxiety-inducing time, and it was fun and interesting to reflect on and make light of. Now, it’s just normal life but with all the really fun bits taken out. I am no longer a travel editor but a tutor. I teach, I plan lessons, I do my daily exercise and do a little work on my book. I have weird quarantine dreams, do some reading, watch some TV and think about the future. Maybe I cook something, maybe I bake something, maybe I clean something. I love writing about my days but I don’t have anything ground-breaking to say. The Corona Journal is just my humdrum daily existence, for now.

That being said, I’m going to continue for the time being – until you tell me to stop! Once a week, I’ll substitute a dairy entry for a round-up of things that have made me laugh, things people have been making, things I think are interesting. I’m thinking hard about what other sorts of things might be fun to post or whether I should just stick to the same format in general – comments and suggestions would be helpful.

I hope you’re all keeping well, safe and happy. Thanks for subscribing for this long – business as usual tomorrow xxx

I hate to be this person (that’s a lie, I love the attention) but I’ve made the Corona Journal into a newsletter so you can get it emailed to you every day. Each post/email takes 1-2 minutes to read and let’s be honest, what else have you got to do right now? Also, sorry. You can subscribe here.

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