So here we are well into January. The festivities seem like a lifetime ago, although in reality it is still less than three weeks since Christmas!
The New Year. I still find myself writing Happy New Year in emails by way of a greeting… and every time I write it I find myself doubting my wishes will be worth the ‘paper’ they are written on.
Am I depressed?
I don’t think so – at least I feel motivated to get up in the mornings, I feel positive about work and achievements, I am contented in my family life situation.
Actually, we are all still living through the trauma of a global pandemic.
Two years ago (almost) we were shocked into the isolation of the first lockdown. Do you remember the shortages of toilet paper, pasta, flour, rice and other staples? And do you recall the silence on the main road at rush hour as we were all allowed only to leave the house for exercise once a day for half an hour or so. And do you remember the images we saw of deserted streets, improvement in air quality, the return of birds to the open spaces around us – re-wilding, if you like.
And now, here we are, almost two years on, still with reduced choice in the stores, some shortages exacerbated by Brexit, still unclear about whether we should stay isolated, and how long for. We discuss the ‘changes in the rules’, with very little objective clarity of their effectiveness. We discover that those in the centre of government didn’t keep the rules they gave to us, on multiple occasions.
We still can’t see a clear road ahead. When will the next variant emerge and what will be the effect it has globally?
Don’t underestimate the human cost, to all of us. Many have lost loved ones, both to Covid, and during Covid, and some deaths precipitated because of the effects on our infrastructure of Covid. We are in collective mourning. 150,000 UK deaths from Covid. We are in mourning for the times and seasons that used to give our lives rhythm and way-points. We used to wonder when we could get back to normal, and yet now we realise that we probably never can.
We have been changed. Irrevocably.
Clients tell me that they are much less sociable than they used to be (and not just because they are not allowed). We have got used to being in our own homes and spaces with those we share them with (if we do share them), or alone. Entertaining takes much more energy than it used to. We find ourselves glad when it is time for friends to return to their homes.
I am writing ‘we’, and I mean ‘we’.
That ‘we’ of course includes ‘I’. But I recognise my own experience as being a corporate experience. Friends, clients, social media tell me the same things.
So, please, go gently into 2022. We need to be careful with ourselves and with each other. We are still in the trauma of a global pandemic, and we don’t quite really know what that means for our long-term wellbeing yet.