Nearly New Normal

 

Three months.

Four underwhelming family birthdays.

Eighty-hundred-and-diddly-five bike rides.

Two pairs of Sweaty Betty leggings on permanent rotation.

Zero blow-drys.

And finally, my friends, we are coming out of lockdown.

I don’t know about your style, but I’m tip-toing out into the world like a cautious woodland creature emerging from hibernation, rather than hitting Bournemouth Beach to party cheek-to-cheek with thousands of other bikini-clad fun-seekers.

 

Life during lockdown has been pretty normal for me.

 

I’ve enjoyed the sunshine and the fact it’s impossible to be late for anything.

I’ve been very grateful that writing work has continued to come in, so for me it’s been business as usual in many ways. Day after day spent tap-tapping away at my desk with the usual juggle of working from home and trying to be a good mum – the screentime reports have been mortifying at times (and that’s just mine). I like having my lovely husband around more for his company and help; he snatches breaks between Zooms to feed the guinea pigs, home school and open the wine.

Many of the clients I have been working with have done The Pivot.

No, it’s not a 1960s dancefloor move that’s made a comeback on Tiktok, but a 2020 business move that involves a sudden 90 degree lurch to the left to avoid plunging into a pit of oblivion.

I’ve been so impressed by those who made quick and brave decisions to reinvent themselves. They introduced new online services and collaborated with other businesses to support each other and the community. The conviction of these quick-thinkers has paid off as they elevated themselves above the confusion by taking action.

Another highlight of lockdown has been my membership of The Inspiration Space, a network of business owners which has been a powerhouse of positivity during lockdown. We’ve gathered online for training, socials and discussions. I even put real shoes on for one of our Zooms, that’s how seriously I take this stuff. I’ve been able to refer clients to other members, and I’ve also received client work from members, but that’s really just the cocoa on the cappuccino. The main thing is that we have been there for each other during some lonely and scary times, and our community has never felt stronger.

Looking back over the landscape of the last three months, the lack of distinguishing features causes the sunny days to swirl together into one big lockdown soup.

One unforgettable event, however, sticks out: the horrifying killing of George Floyd and the justifiable and necessary outpouring of anger and pain in response to his death.

 

I used to think it was enough to say I’m not racist, but I now see that is just an easy way to do nothing.

 

I haven’t been listening. I understand now that this is a white problem and I’m trying to work out how I can be part of the solution. I have got past the squeamishness and fear of getting it wrong into the discomfort of a more honest and useful conversation that acknowledges the complicity of my silence. I will do better.

I wonder, if it wasn’t for the void created by lockdown, would I have heard the Black Lives Matter message this time or would I still be oblivious? The virus has given the whole world an opportunity to stop, think and realise. I hope wholeheartedly that we all decide to make the new normal a better place than the old normal.

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