Fear not, I have no intention of using the phrase ‘new normal’ or ‘unprecedented times’. However, whatever term we use to describe the unimaginable turmoil the world has experienced, there is no escaping the fact that things will never be the same again.
Of course, that isn’t to say it will not be better, improved, re-imagined or otherwise. For now, let’s stick with re-imagined. After all, we are gradually returning to school, work, travel and socialising, and we have to adapt accordingly.
The classroom will revert to a format established over 100 years ago,it would appear, to enable social distancing – smaller classes with individual desks focusing on one teacher. Isn’t that a good thing?
I do wonder if having had time at home will have re-energised students and their tutors alike. Despite the parameters set down by the new guidelines, it will be beneficial to all concerned – eventually. Will the relief of not having taken exams make students work harder, or will the disappointment of being stripped of that very entitlement takes the wind out of their future planning sails?
All this remains to be seen of course, but upon reflection, might they not also have appreciated the time spent at home, learning to cook or to enjoy exercise or to have time rarely spent with family members?
For the younger pupils, homeschooling has been a subliminal learning experience, with maths, English and science cleverly disguised as baking, journals and gardening. Conversely, not all home experiences are chapters out of Enid Blyton, and perhaps it is the schooldays which give the most pleasure to some and are therefore the most missed.
Work is somewhat of a broad spectrum to cover, as every industry has been affected in so many different ways. Still, the common denominator is the wish to re-establish their business despite all the headaches the ‘enabling’ may bring. We have all adopted the ‘local’ aspect of shopping and dining experiences, and I do hope we will continue our community support as we return to our lives. We have been grateful to those who supported us in our times of need, so let’s reciprocate and show how valued these enterprising individuals still are.
I think if I were to be asked what I missed most, it would have to be that I had nothing to look forward to – no dining out, drinks with friends or a much-awaited holiday or weekend getaway. But, as my world shrank, I realised I was looking forward to the simple things in life, dinner with the family, lovely walks, and time to be me. Ask the same question to others, and it can be friends, grandchildren, work, travel, sport, socialising, hugs, closeness, being impromptu.
So, I feel that when the world wakes up from this, it will be with enthusiasm and a new sense of focus, or so you would think. Appreciating what we have and being grateful. We have, after all, realised how clear the skies can be without pollution, how beautiful the sound of birdsong is without background noise, and actually how we can still communicate effectively without being in the same room.
On that note, there are thousands of employees, I feel sure, who will never want to return to their previous lives and have adapted to working from home rather well. Admit it, you rather like not commuting, or endless traffic jams, or vending machine coffee! Equally, employers have seen the benefit in the increased output of their satisfied workforce and coupled with the ever-rising costs of overheads, realise this is the way forward.