Here in the UK, we are on a knife’s edge.
Come July 4th, many of the restrictions put in place on March 23rd – the start of our nationwide lockdown – will be lifted. Following on from the recent re-opening of shops, the likes of pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, playgrounds, cinemas, museums, libraries, and places of worship will be allowed to welcome visitors once more, albeit in a socially distanced way. Lockdown-weary households will be able to travel elsewhere within the country, with summer ‘staycations’ becoming possible now that holiday accomodations like campsites and hotels can begin operating again. These are but some of the big changes occuring this weekend, but suffice it to say July 4th is our big leap back towards ‘normal.’
As an American ex-pat living in the UK, I must say it feels strangely fitting that our day of release from lockdown restrictions should happen to fall on Independence Day. But I digress.
As we prepare to make our big leap back towards ‘normal,’ I must admit that I feel a bit discouraged. This ‘anthropause’ – as I’ve increasingly heard it dubbed – has afforded us with such a unique, possibly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to re-examine the way our governments, societies, and even selves operate. We have a chance to tweak and reshape how we do things, to create a greener, kinder, safer, more inclusive world for all. But when I look ahead to our country’s grand re-opening this summer – well, it looks to me like we’ve generally decided to press on with business as usual.
There’s still hope, however.
I haven’t shared these doubts with you all to cause any despair. Rather, let us – you and me both – see our dreams of different times ahead reignited and our efforts to help bring about positive change both big and small redoubled. As today’s quote urges us to do, let’s not simply have an opinion of what the post-anthropause world should look like; let’s take steps to make it our reality.
Today’s Monday Mindfulness quote comes from the Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho.