Why I Don't Want Lockdown to End

Why I don't Want Lockdown to End. By Natascha Graham There are the obvious reasons why I don't want lockdown to end: potential death being the forerunner. I'm severely asthmatic and a part of the “clinically extremely vulnerable” group, so let's just say that catching COVID wouldn't be the best idea. But it is the other feelings and emotions that go alongside the fear of death that seem to have acquired some sort of mob-mentality and are bashing me over the head at every available opportunity. Anxiety. That's a big one. Anxiety rules all others, never shying away from the front centre stage, anxiety takes her role seriously and can stop me from entering a shop even before I have planned on visiting one. Then, curtseying to anxiety (and sometimes intertwined with), comes panic - this can range anywhere from, Oh God, I've forgotten my mask/accidentally gone out in my pyjamas/forgotten to book a Tesco delivery slot and now I won't be able to get one until two months time to wondering if it's COVID every single time you feel even vaguely unwell. Then there is the sense of loss. Nostalgia even. Gone are the first few weeks of the pandemic, when the UK went into what is now somewhat ruefully known as “Lockdown 1”, and we spent our Thursday evenings waiting for 8 PM when everyone in the country would stand on their front doorsteps to clap or bang together pots and pans to cheer for the NHS. Gone too are the 11 AM mornings when people in my street would play music and dance together (socially distancing of course) in the middle of the road. I have a fondness for those memories. In the beginning of the pandemic, there was a feeling of panic. No one could find a bag of flour for love nor money, and everyone was buying out all the bloody toilet roll, but somewhere within that, once the panic began to fade, there was the feeling of community, an old-fashioned sort of communities pulling together feeling which was reminiscent of the war that can only be imagined by myself, having been born in the late 80's. We were all in this together. And I felt that. My wife and I coped by digging a vegetable and herb garden. We nurtured seedlings from seeds, grew potatoes from potato peelings and learned along the way how to (and how not to) create a garden that worked. While doing this we swapped seeds and plants with people nearby, conversing and making arrangements via Facebook Marketplace and then leaving the plants on the doorstep with instructions to drop the money through the letterbox. Even this was a form of connection that felt like it meant something. So often things don't feel as though they truly mean something anymore. And maybe that's just me, but I don't really think that it is. Don't get me wrong, my heart ached every single time the death toll rose, and I felt as annoyed as the next person when I spotted a lunatic wearing their mask on their chin, or beneath their nose, or pulling up a scarf or sleeve over their mouth, and I felt and inordinate amount (and still do) of rage toward people who come within about six metres of me, my wife or our children (never mind the two metres). As a society we get up, we go to work, we come home, and in between there is a lot of complaining about what time we have to get up, the work we are doing, and how little time we have to ourselves when we get home. Then for people like me who work from home, there's the loneliness and isolation that comes with that. Ironically, and surprisingly, I felt less lonely at the beginning of the pandemic than I have ever done before. For once, we were a united front. Great Britain and the world joining forces against a virus that was keeping us apart. We had a social distancing VE Day, we looked out for each other, and people came together to form groups to collect prescriptions and other things for vulnerable people. People looked out for one another, on the whole - there were still some nitwits, but on the whole people truly cared for one another. I don't want to be confined to one country, and I don't really want to live in lockdown forever, or be unable to visit pubs or shops, but I do want to keep a hold of that sense of community that seemed to flourish so quickly, only to die a death, along with any hope we had of returning to normal life, at the end of lockdown 1. I have never felt as firmly connected to others as I have done during the beginning of the pandemic, and I miss it now with the same pang of nostalgic wistfulness of childhood - the kind that makes your chest ache, and if we take anything from the COVID-19 pandemic, let it be that. A sense of community, of looking after one's next door neighbours, and of others. Of being kind, and truly caring for those around us.

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