There’s a lot to be optimistic about in the coming weeks and months. As lockdown takes effect and more and more people get vaccinated, Covid-19 cases are going down. And the UK’s roadmap of the easing of restrictions means that (with fingers firmly crossed) the end of lockdown is in sight.
Which is cause for major celebration. Because after a year mainly stuck at home, it’s fair to say we’re pretty sick of lockdown life.
Here’s a list of things we’re NOT going to miss when life gets back to normal.
From Zoom meetings to virtual quizzes, the video call has been a lifesaver during lockdown. But it can’t compete with actually meeting up with friends face to face.
We don’t have to worry about the internet connection, for starters. An amusing anecdote can be ruined by a two-second lag, let alone the dreaded ‘poor connection’. Real-life encounters also don’t involve looking at yourself in the corner of a screen thinking you need some sun. Bring ‘em on.
The same old walks
Being able to get out of the house and exercise has been essential during lockdown. The physical and mental health benefits, just from a daily walk, have been huge.
And in the lovely spring weather of the first lockdown, exploring on foot the areas around your home felt like a novelty. It’s less exciting in mid-winter, however, having done the same walk about 100 times. Visiting somewhere outside our two-mile radius is something we’ll all look forward to.
Having no news
Humans are social animals. We all need friends and family to talk to, and the wonders of technology have meant we’ve been lucky enough to keep in touch with loved ones during the pandemic.
But it helps if you actually have something to talk about, which is rare when no-one can go anywhere or do anything. How was your week? Exactly the same as the last one. And the one before that. Once lockdown is over, we needn’t have hour-long conversations about what we’re having for dinner, which can only be a good thing.
Netflix and chill
Of course, there’s an obvious pleasure to be had from a quiet night in. A nice meal with a glass of wine and cosying up on the sofa in the warmth of your living room while enjoying the latest TV drama.
But variety is the spice of life, and when this is your only option night after night, it wears a bit thin (as does your sofa). You know when you rewatch an entire box set (and realise the ending was no better second time round) that you need to get out more. Thankfully, soon we can.
Rearranging our homes
When we’re stuck at home every day, we’re keen to do anything we can to freshen things up. How about moving the table to the corner? Maybe that chair would work better in the bedroom. And why haven’t I thought about colour-coding the books on my shelves before?
You might have embarked on some ambitious rearranging in lockdown, only to realise half-way through that it was a bad idea—turns out things were in place for a reason. What we really need is a complete change of scenery—we’ll have one before long.
Treating supermarket trips as an event
With bars, restaurants and venues closed in lockdown, a traditional night out has become a distant memory. What are we left with? Trips to the supermarket. While this wouldn’t be classed as entertainment in normal circumstances, during lockdown it’s almost become exciting.
You might have found yourself choosing a nice sweater to wear, or spending that bit longer on your hair. Maybe you’ve browsed certain aisles you previously never thought to look at, dragging out this limited time of freedom in a building other than your home. This can’t be healthy, and the sooner it ends the better.
Feeling guilty about not learning a new skill
Remember all those confident assertions at the start of the pandemic? Finally, a chance to write your novel or teach yourself the clarinet.
A year on, and those ambitious plans are still noticeably unchecked in the ‘To do over lockdown’ list. At least when things return to normal we’ll be too busy to worry about not having learned Spanish. We might even be able to travel to a Spanish speaking country and learn it that way. Woo-hoo!
Being able to watch live sport again has been a godsend to sports fans over the pandemic, and the sporting governing bodies have done a fantastic job behind the scenes to make it happen safely.
But watching a match on TV without a crowd just isn’t the same. With the atmosphere provided by grunts from the players, you might as well be watching a kickabout in the park. Artificial crowd noise helps, although it does make the experience feel like a computer game. We don’t know when fans will be allowed back into stadiums, but we’ll rejoice when it happens.
If you’re a parent having to homeschool during the pandemic, chances are you’ve acquired new-found respect for the teaching profession. Keeping children—especially younger ones—motivated and focused on their schoolwork has been a real challenge.
When you combine that with parents having to work themselves, it’s become almost impossible. Meetings can be interrupted at any point by a screaming child, while teenagers need to be constantly told to stop playing video games and do some work. Parents during lockdown—we salute you.
Having an empty diary
One of the fun things about living is having things to look forward to. A tough week at work can be made all the more bearable if we’re off on holiday in a few weeks. Even an upcoming night out in the diary can help perk you up if you’re feeling low.
That sense in lockdown of having nothing on the horizon has added to people’s sense of despondency. Finally, we can all start to make some plans. Even if they get cancelled at the last minute, at least we’ll get the pleasure of anticipation.