Will things ever be the same again?
It's been 16 months since we went into the first lockdown in the UK. All the fear of the unknown that we faced then seems so far away now, and is replaced with the certainty that many find so hard to accept: that things will never go back to how they were.
And while some of us are rushing into the old familiar activities that we couldn't do for so long, and are trying to force the old ways back, others are watching from the sidelines - carefully, fearfully, or not convinced.
Here is one way of looking at this: that things can't be the same as they were, because it is simply not in the nature of things to stay the same. And again, it boils down to our relationship with change. Perhaps those who cannot wait to do things like they used to before have been holding their breath for the past 16 months and now they want to just carry on like nothing happened. And those who are unsure how to go back to doing some things after so long got used to how things were during the lockdown. Both sound like a resistance to a change. Yet one of the things that people are naturally really good at is adapting - have we lost touch with our nature and our great survival skills by leaning on the ease, comforts and shortcuts of the modern life?
I witnessed some great moments of compassion, care, kindness, community spirit and faith during the lockdown. We faced the challenge with honest, real fear, and we embraced everything that we could call life during that time. It wasn't easy, but it was simple - one walk a day, time with the family, time at home. And who says that easier is better? What happened with "less is more"? We quote these ideas, mantras and wisdoms as if they apply to everyone but us. Or as if it is up to somebody else to provide us with this kind of life. "If I could, I would live a simpler life", says everyone all the time, "But..." - and then we list the demands that we constantly put on ourselves to deprive us of the freedom that we are afraid to hold.
Things will never be the same again, because that is not what things do, no matter how much we will them or force them to. Our power is not in keeping things the same, or forcing them to change. Our power is in how we adapt to the changes that do happen around us. Fluidity in the face of change doesn't simply give us better odds of survival, but also opens new paths, offers new opportunities and expands our world of posibilities.