Lynette Fay: Getting back to 'normal' life will take time and patience
We are hopefully preparing to leave a traumatic period in our lives behind us and we will need to give ourselves time and be patient with the transition
MOST of us will have had a haircut over the weekend, the weather hasn't been too bad of late (typical exam weather), the vaccine roll-out is going well – might we dare to hope that life is returning to us?
I received the first jab a couple of weeks ago. I felt overwhelmed by the occasion. Standing in the queue in the SSE Arena, I was both nervous and excited. I was also humbled. The last time I had been there was at a U2 concert but this gig was bigger. I wondered if the 90s soundtrack rocking out in the background was carefully selected to put the 40-45 cohort at ease.
Looking around at the people in the other queues, masked and socially distanced, the vulnerability this pandemic has evoked was palpable. I felt compelled to thank everyone who helped me – from ushers, to the nurse who inoculated me. Thanks (again) to every single person working to make the vaccine roll-out as effective as it has been so far.
Now, as I wait for the second jab, the wheels of the world are beginning to turn.
The hairdressers' reopened in the nick of time for all in our house. The hair situation was outrageously out of control; even the baby has been rocking a Covid hairdo as her hair decided to grow during lockdown, and no-one was brave enough to attempt a trim, never mind a home haircut. Hats off to those who did, and who discovered a new skill during this pandemic year.
A new hairdo is always a confidence booster and makes us feel better about ourselves.
This latest lockdown has felt longer than any other, we can all agree on that. We are hopefully preparing to leave a traumatic period in our lives behind us and we will need to give ourselves time and be patient with the transition.
Anxiety will raise its ugly head in many forms in the days and weeks ahead. There is a fair chance that we will be overwhelmed in ways we do not fully understand.
Broadcaster and writer Elizabeth Day made a comment on Twitter recently that she has used "being busy with work" as a distraction from the challenges we are living through, and how she felt exhausted and worried about how to fit it all in when "something approaching normal life resumes". Her words really resonated with me – I may have used the same coping mechanism.
I have had many conversations on my radio show recently about the different types of anxiety that we may well experience as we come out the other side of this pandemic, hoping never to go into lockdown again. Time and again, the experts engaged advise us to be patient with the transition ahead. Resist the temptation to hope for too much, too soon.
Coming into contact with people outside our bubbles, work colleagues or the same people we meet on our walk of the area will be daunting for some.
Unruly hair can be remedied in a matter of minutes, but other parts of our appearance can not be changed so quickly. Some may have lost or gained weight – and this could very well bring with it anxiety about others seeing us in our changed form.
Then there's conversation – it might take us time to get used to the idea of speaking to other people in person again. We might need to remind ourselves that it is OK to stop and indulge in a chat, albeit at a safe distance.
We might not want to chat either – and that's OK too. The last year has been exhausting at best, traumatic at worst. In the past few weeks, I have started to bump into people who I haven't seen for a while and I have really enjoyed the catch-ups. After a year of Zooms and virtual conversations, the injection of reality is most welcome.
The habits formed in the last year haven't all been bad. In the simplest of terms, if we keep up walking, drive a little less, do more home cooking, we will help wider society as much as ourselves. As for the rest of it, we might have to take time to reintroduce parts of our life which were once routine, and to remember to re-engage with people who we used to see on a regular basis.
:: Lynette hosts The Lynette Fay Show Monday to Thursday, 3pm BBC Radio Ulster, anytime on BBC Sounds.