There’s a lot of passion right now about how we live our lives, bringing me to an interesting new phrase: re-entry anxiety.
Now we’ve got the sniggering out of the way (quiet at the back, there), let’s recognise it’s a real thing people are feeling.
Everyone’s affected by COVID-19, in emotional, economic, cultural terms and more. Now, many of us are being asked to move past the pandemic for the first time, and some are freaking out about it.
I want to separate this from the question of when we might reopen, and who makes decisions about that.
I’m aware there are differences of opinion about how to handle COVID-19, with some people taking a common-sense approach and others expressing support for the Tory government’s policy of fighting a pandemic by hitting each other in the face with custard pies that are actually on fire.
I want us to think about how we will resume our lives.
Whatever happens, sooner or later, we will all go outside again, as so many courageous key workers have been doing all along.
There will be working, socialising, shopping and other things that seem scary now.
I’m not looking forward to it.
I settled into the pandemic a little too well. Except for occasional sojourns for food or medicine, I’m rarely at risk.
I’m lucky I can work at home, so I spend every day safe indoors.
I’m surprisingly productive, focused on positive goals and enjoying more time with my children than ever before.
As an introvert, I’ve had no difficulty adjusting.
Re-entry anxiety is a real problem, increasingly recognised by medical professionals. While extroverts struggled with their mental health during lockdown, the real challenges for others are still to come as we face the risks of the world, real and perceived.
I never liked humans before; now they can be threatening just by breathing.
The solution, of course, lies in showing empathy.
Any passerby could be struggling and it’s up to all of us to show compassion. Maybe that means giving them some space, physically or otherwise, and maybe it’s just being tolerant.
Everyone can make a contribution. Let’s try it.