The past few months have been hard for all of us, contending with unprecedented restrictions on our daily lives, as well as the constant fear of a deadly global virus.
Most of us have put up with these difficult times without complaint; wearing our masks, limiting the time we spend outdoors, and conducting our Healgen rapid Antigen test whenever we feel a tickle in our throats or a rise in temperature. But now the end is in almost in sight. The restrictions are lifting, the vaccines are rolling out, and the sun is finally rising on a brand-new day. It’s time to celebrate life again, but where to start?
Once the masks and rapid Covid testing are a thing of the past, here are some of the things we can’t wait to do.
Abandon our screens
We don’t want to seem ungrateful. Apps like Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams, as well as social media sites, have been a godsend during this pandemic. They’ve helped us keep in touch with our friends and loved ones, and they’re the main reason many of us will still have a job to go to at the end of lockdown, but as we emerge blinking into the sunlight, we don’t want to bring our phones and laptops with us.
We want to see people face to face without having to worry about our dodgy Wi-Fi connection. We want to have long, late night discussions without some faceless Twitter troll getting involved. We want to stop and smell the flowers, be part of a crowd, and feel the sun on our faces again. Sorry Tik Tok, but you just can’t compare to a real-world connection.
Go to concert venues and theatres
Speaking of being part of a crowd, another thing we can’t wait to do is see our favourite actors and musicians in a real-life theatre or stadium. Imagine! Who’d have dreamed of such a thing six months ago?
Theatres and music venues have suffered terribly during lockdown, and it’s up to us to get them back on their feet. Talk about an easy task. What a thrill it’ll be to see a big musical or Shakespeare production with a live audience, or sing along to your favourite lockdown album once the artist is finally allowed to tour. Lockdown was for online shopping, spending our money on things. Now it’s time to spend it on experiences.
After the stress of the last year or so, we could all do with a holiday. Some of us will jet abroad for some sun, sea and relaxation, while others will simply enjoy what their own country has to offer.
Basking in the Spanish sun with a pitcher of sangria, or experiencing the stunning scenery of the Scottish Highlands or Cornish coast is just the tonic we need after the housebound trauma that was 2020.
Plan and attend big celebrations
Many people have had to postpone or scale down their wedding, birthday or graduation plans recently. While there is something to be said for smaller, intimate celebrations, nothing can quite compare to a great big party.
And that’s exactly what we want at the end of lockdown: a series of big, extravagant, bonkers parties to celebrate with our friends and family. We’re talking gorgeous venues, plenty of food and drink, loud music, dancing and laughter. Too much will simply not be enough.
Return to the big screen
We all love a night in with Netflix, Disney+, or even a DVD, but can anything quite match seeing the latest blockbuster on a humongous screen with an over-excited audience gasping at every plot twist or scene of wanton property damage? No, it can’t.
Some films just have to be seen at the cinema, whether it’s on massive I-Max or your local arthouse theatre screen, sticky floors, over-priced popcorn and all. Again, it’s all about the experience.
Enjoy shopping again
For too long, shopping has been an ordeal. If you head to the shops in person, you need to remember your mask, sanitise your hands until they’re little more than chapped hooves, and not spend any amount of time browsing for fear of annoying the people waiting outside for you to finish. And then there’s online shopping, where you can only pray things arrive on time, fit perfectly, and that you haven’t accidentally given your card details to an underground network of cyber criminals.
It’s no way to shop, not when it could be such a joyful experience. Soon though, we’ll be able to take our time choosing what we want and try things on before buying them. We can make a day of it, taking our friends, grabbing lunch, and buying things on a whim. Clothes shops, book shops, antique shops, toy shops, record shops, food stores and garden centres; we’ll visit them all as soon as we can.
Go on days out
Getting in your car and driving across county lines without incurring a fine and a police warning. There was a time when this wasn’t such an impossible notion, and that time is coming again.
Beaches, museums, country walks, amusement parks and stately homes will soon be welcoming visitors back, and we can’t wait to take full advantage. We may not ever see our homes again.
Work somewhere other than our homes
At first, working from home was a bit of a novelty. We didn’t have to get up as early, worry about our commute, or even change out of our pyjama bottoms. But the longer it went on, the harder it became to motivate ourselves, as we began to miss our colleagues, the office atmosphere, and the days when our partners, children and pets didn’t interrupt our most important Zoom calls.
Even if our workplace keeps up the work from home policy, we intend to follow it in the loosest terms. By home, surely they mean coffee shop, or park, or friends house? A change of scenery will do wonders for our mood and work ethic.
Let our kids loose
Our kids have had a hard time during the pandemic. They’ve missed out on school, but perhaps more importantly, they’ve missed out on friendships and experiencing all the world has to offer.
As soon as restrictions ease, we shall set them free. They will swing from every climbing frame, jump in every swimming pool and swarm every ice cream van. They shall scream and fall over and throw tantrums and it will be glorious because at last our kids will be allowed to be kids again.
Meet all the pandemic babies
If your friend, sibling, or child has had a baby of their own recently, then lockdown will have been especially heart-breaking. But soon you will have the opportunity to meet the little bundle of joy, and relish all the cuddles, gurgled laughter, smelly nappies and chaos they bring with them, never to be parted again.
Hug our friends and family
Many of us have been forced to spend these long hard months alone for our safety and the safety of those around us. The first thing we will do, before we head to the shops, book a haircut or make sure we haven’t lost the ability to speak to another human being, is run to our parents’, our partners’, our sibling’s, or our best friend’s front door and give them a great big hug, no mask in sight.
Breathe a big sigh of relief
This one speaks for itself.