More Lessons from lockdown

Have I learned any enduring lessons from lockdown? I have to admit to feelings of puzzlement and slightly desperate nausea when the travel industry and the ‘frequent fliers club’ enthuse about air travel getting ‘back to normal’ soon. Is it ‘normal’ to expect to fly everywhere? And should we be aiming to get back to ‘business before covid’? What about the climate crisis and protecting the environment? If covid has shown me anything, it is the vulnerability of our erstwhile ‘normal’ expectations.

I’ll not fly by plane again, unless it is to visit somewhere like New York – there not being ships available to make the journey, as there used to be in the ‘good old days’ circa 1920…  – but will be looking to travel by Eurotunnel or other scheduled ferry and overland services if the need arises. As my husband often says, “I like to make the journey part of our holiday.”

This year, I’m going to think twice before buying non-consumables, though that is proving to be a challenge. I seem to live a fairly minimal lifestyle as it is, and sometimes I yearn to splurge, but it’s a good discipline first make use of what we have, and to look afresh at all the books already in our bookcases, the cds and other things in the home. Do I need more? Can what I have be recycled? Redeployed?

If I go too far down the minimalist road, I might find all my shelves and rooms empty, except for two changes of clothes in my wardrobe and my computer. I will not, therefore, be ‘getting rid’ of my old clothes, CDs, paper books, and dictionaries, since ‘getting rid’ of these is merely passing their matter sideways. Anyway, in the course of a life, one does find favourites, and these I will keep. So until my ‘legacy’ collection of CDs is rendered entirely obsolete, I shall reinstall my CD drive on my computer whenever the latest updates delete it. A small price to be able to work with music of my choice.

I feel so blessed to live in the world as we have made it now. Freed of the need to go and find firewood and water, and walk twenty miles for healthcare, there is so much I can do to please myself. We have so many chances to be happy. These may be small, but to preserve the ability of others to access that happiness, we must do more to help each other. The world – like the democratic freedoms we have rather taken for granted – is a fragile, complex web, infinitely precious and worth preserving.

Thanks so much for reading.

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