I’m writing this at the beginning of February 2021. In March 2020, I started a journal. It was as we saw the beginning of the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in the UK. I thought it would be useful to hold on to the thoughts and experiences I was having in a private way, to look back on in years to come and remember what it was like living through a global pandemic.
My daily journal didn’t last through April. We had a lot of experiences by the end of April and I was tired. I didn’t feel I had space to reflect. Which, for a social worker, is quite an admission to make. My brain was full of work, changing work practices, worry — worry about myself, my family and friends, the people I worked with and the people I worked for. Worry about the world. Worry about the loss of the expectations, hopes and plans which I had.
People I knew, not particularly close friends but people I had known, died fairly early on in the pandemic, in March, so it felt personal and well as global. When, through difficult times in the past, I turned to friends and colleagues, this was a period where we all turned to each other at the same time. There was nothing to say because we had similar experiences although we were experiencing in different ways.
As I looked at my log yesterday, for the first time since April 2020, I realised that my expectation had been to pick up the memories in 2021 and think what an arse of a year 2020 had been. We know better now. We have learnt a lot as a society and as individuals and organisations over the year.
We are in a situation that is worse, for me, personally, than I was in March in terms of direct impact of Covid both at work and within my own life, but I remember, in those hazy, socially distanced days of summer walks with friends in the parks, that we felt it was over the worst. Even though we knew about the winter pressures which were to come.
This post though, is about me thinking where we go next. I am glad I didn’t know in March last year that I’d be writing this post in February this year. If I had imagined that, I don’t think I could have got through 2020. We need the glimpses of light to overcome the deep, trenchant muddiness of despair that lies between the fear, worry, desperation and rage.
I have more space for rage now, than I did in Spring 2020. I wish I didn’t. Rage is important but it needs to be directed and contained. The endless rage is tiring. Everything seems tiring at the moment. Yesterday, I was in a reflective practice group with my team — one that, I think has helped me understand and know the team I work with, over the last year, in a way that would otherwise have taken decades. We were talking about feelings and my overwhelming feeling is one of tiredness. I am just so tired of living like this. I wasn’t a great ‘out and about person’ but I feel so tired of just getting by.
But in the spirit of the post, what keeps me going is thinking that each day is an opportunity to create a ‘better’. Each day is a day nearer the time when we will be able to meet and go out and that my world will return to a degree of normality although it will be a different kind of normal. And that’s fine. I have things I can take with me into the future.
So while I can’t change yesterday or what we have been given, we can think of one thing that will make today or tomorrow better. It might be a treat, it might be a film or a book I’ve been meaning to get round to, it might be an early night or an evening searching youtube for kitten kindergartens. Some days I’ll be up for the cerebral, and sometimes it will need the silly. But always it needs a break in monotony. That needs effort and energy but we have got this far.
Tomorrow will be a better day. Tomorrow will be a new day.