Here in Spain we’ve just reached a new stage in loosening the quarantine restrictions. We can now meet up to 10 people in someone’s home, or in a park. We can go for a drink or meal on a cafe or restaurant terraza, with the establishment at only 30% capacity.
After 9 weeks of a very strict lockdown where for the majority of it we could only leave our houses to go to the supermarket or pharmacist, and no daily walk until the past couple of weeks, it’s a big shock to the system.
I’m aware that my situation is good. My little quarantine bubble has been comfortable and has felt safe. My family are well, I’ve worked from home, I haven’t had to head out, I haven’t had to home school.
Still, I’ve felt quite anxious about yet more changes to our day-to-day lives. It feels like a massive jump. A bit like we’re nocturnal animals coming out blinking into the daylight.
We’ve only just adapted to our new routines of staying in, working, exercising, entertaining ourselves indoors. It’s given us an element of security and control amidst something so difficult to control.
And now suddenly we’re confronted with decisions, albeit positive ones. Do I go out for a drink with friends? Do I meet up with people? Is it really safe? Is it going to put into jeopardy the possibility of flying to see my parents and family anytime soon?
On the other hand, isn’t this what I’ve been dreaming of, having a beer in the sun?
What’s comfortable for you?
After much deliberation I went out for a drink the other night for the first time since early March. It was really lovely to see friends, have a drink, have a chat, relax, enjoy being outside on a balmy evening. Hearing the everyday sounds of chat, laughter, glasses being clunked down on the table. Dogs barking, general neighbourhood noise. Sounds of life and activity.
But around an hour was enough for me. When that time passed I was ready to go for a bit of a walk then head back to the sofa to watch TV.
And that’s ok.
I think each of us has to work out what we are comfortable with, easing back into ‘normality’ bit by bit. I guess it’s the same with any change, big or small. Take baby steps and do what feels comfortable or doable. Staying paralysed or stuck is never a good thing. But with something as big as this, I think we can afford to be easy on ourselves.
Written during Writers’ Hour. Join me on the next one.