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Lockdown lifting: We are getting out, so why aren’t we happier?


By Louise Slyth
10th May 2021

Getty

Lockdown lifting: We are getting out, so why aren’t we happier?

We are almost there, right? Lockdown is lifting and we’ve been told hope is returning. Vaccine supplies are improving, and we now have a pathway to society re-opening. So why don’t we feel happier?

After months of lockdown, staring at the same four walls, not seeing friends, and all the rest of the “unpalatables”, I thought I’d be more excited about booking a long-overdue haircut. And yet I’m not. Having taken a straw poll amongst friends and colleagues, I find I’m not alone.

Over the last few months, we have all been living a Groundhog-esque existence. Life has held no sparkle or spontaneity. When every day feels like a week, and every week feels like a month, it’s understandable that these last few weeks are going to feel like an eternity. 

I am woman enough to admit that over the past 14 months there have been a handful of days of inconsolable sobbing. In the main however, I’ve been my usual chirpy self, able to get on with things, and I’ve tried to be a source of strength and hope for others. Yet at this point, the tank is empty. I am soul-weary. 

I am so very tired of living with Covid, and so incredibly angry that I must. I’ve retreated from my regular chats with friends because we really have eked out every possible conversation. There is only so much “where did you walk this week?” and Netflix recommendations that I can take. I am now bored of myself. My remote control is worn away. 

I’m feeling a curious combination of exhaustion and rage. It’s there when I stub my toe and don’t know whether to roar or burst into tears. It’s there when I can’t focus on anything and end up achieving nothing. It’s there when I suffer vaccine envy, seeing all my friends in Scotland progressing much faster than we are here in Ireland. Even though I am genuinely delighted for them, I am still deflated and irritable because I have no sense of when I’ll be getting mine. “Most adults…end of June…” After waiting this long, I’m longing for certainty. 

Having spent nine out of the last 12 months in some level of lockdown, it’s natural that we would have high hopes of getting our old lives back when we come out. Our old lives…halcyon days where you were the master of your own destiny. Where events, holidays and packed bars were the norms. Where strangers were friends you had yet to meet, not people to be mistrusted and avoided. 

Society was turned off like a tap last March, and since then we have had only a few, brief sips of freedom. Will this long-awaited re-opening be all that we have hoped for? I think we are all weary of half measures, but sadly that’s the most we can hope for. I so desperately want to go back to the days when fear and masks weren’t the norms, and fun wasn’t dished out in measures of 105 minutes. I understand and fully support public health advice, but it just feels so bleak. Who can blame us for feeling lukewarm about a socially distanced picnic in the limp Irish summer? 

They say it’s always darkest before the dawn. Perhaps we are almost there. Perhaps we have a glorious technicolour summer of outdoor fun ahead of us, supported by vaccines, wrapped in a hopeful pink bow. I very much hope so.