Time has turned and days have passed. We can barely remember January now. It is no longer March, it is December. The old year will end tonight, and 2021 will be there on the other side.
This year has not been the same for everyone, but for many, it is too long since we have seen our loved ones. Relatives and friends have died. Business has boomed or collapsed. We may not have worked for months, or perhaps our time has been full to bursting with home-schooling, zooming and on-line meetings. Maybe we have been alone when we wanted to be with someone else, or in closer proximity with them than is healthy. We have walked through empty streets, donned masks, and cleaned our hands more than ever before. With our backs against the wall, secluded behind closed doors, we have been locked in, and these things cannot be undone. There is no going back.
However, I hear that you might want to return to normal, get back to the way things were, and live your life the way it used to be before Covid. I am tempted to will that for you too, to make you happy. But I know that there is no old ‘normal’ to be found, no ‘way back’ now, no ‘what-was’, again.
I also know that because of what we have seen and touched, and because we have heard unfamiliar sounds and thought new thoughts, read, drunk, bled, coughed, sloughed off old cells and re-grown new ones, spotted a white hair, cut our nails and thrown away the clippings, that we have learned from this.
We know more, we are wiser. By dint of living, and of living through what has happened, we have a new perspective. That’s the way it is. We are a bit older (wrinklier? longer in the tooth?), we are sager, we have insight.
We have new opportunities.
It is true that we have heard ourselves say to each other before: ‘Here we go again’ and ‘But, but, we’ve been round this corner already’, however the ‘we’ who are going and being are not the same we. We have changed.
Some things will be familiar, it is true, they will smell and taste almost the same, but they will not be identical. The next breath doesn’t match the previous one, no following step moves in exactly the same direction, no already-given-kiss will be bestowed again.
And, if we think about it, we might say, ‘Thank goodness for that!’ For, surely we would rather not repeat mistakes that we have made, not say, again, words which were spoken in hate or fury, or cry as much, or go through the same pain. We wouldn’t really want to go back, would we, imagining it was all best then, and that’s what we need again?
So, what now?
This is our chance. We can salvage what was great from then, note what was best from that normal, and remember the before, decide what we liked about it and focus on that, letting the rest go.
We can ask each other:
What do you value, love and cherish? Where do you want to spend your time, and who do you want to spend it with? What places are good to be in, what work satisfying to carry out, and what food most delicious to eat?
Let us ask ourselves:
- Will we take our fear and face it?
- Can we shelve our anger and forgive?
- Is our love worth following?
- Is life so precious that we promise to do something valuable with it?
- Is the land we live on important enough, and is the air we breathe vital enough that we are prepared to change our habits to try to preserve them?
If this makes sense to you, shall we do these things together, so that we aren’t alone? That is, together, in person, if we can be and if we prefer it (not everyone does); otherwise, with others, in another way?
I want to say: Know that you aren’t alone, that there is at least one other person, animal or butterfly, which cares for the same things you do.
And even if you cannot, or do not want to do anything with another person, remember: your thoughts are energy, and your private actions disturb the air around you, they bring about some sort of change. I want you to know that this change can, and will, be felt.
- Let’s acknowledge what has happened!
- Let’s move forward, not hope to go back!
- Let’s make our lives, and the life around us, better!