Maria Rushe shares her thoughts on the next whirlwind phase of life during Covid-19.
Mammy likes rollercoasters. I like theme parks.
But we’ve all been landed into a theme park that we had not planned to visit, and it seems that we all have to travel on a whole series of rollercoasters before we get to leave.
It’s a bit like a bad movie, isn’t it? “2020 – The Theme Park of Covidcoasters…”
We’ve been on one already.
On March 12th, all of us were hustled into little carriages and we’ve all travelled on our own Covidcoaster through lockdown.
For many of us, the track was scary and bumpy, but not too terrifying.
For many of us, it’s been an absolute nightmare and we step off it, battered and bruised and a big bit heartbroken.
For so so many, the rollercoaster still included working either from home or from the frontline… Every single person has had to travel on their own rollercoaster and every single one of us is absolutely allowed to feel a bit shaken by whichever track we were on.
The news of further relaxation of the lockdown restrictions on Friday came as a bit of a surprise to me. I had taken a few days off social media this week and so I’d missed the usual leaks of announcements that always precede the actual announcements. I can’t say I was emotionally able for it. I wasn’t emotionally able for very much this week if I’m honest.
So the announcement that we are able to travel anywhere within our own county AND the realisation that things might just begin to move back towards our old normal a little faster than we’d hoped, was quite a gunk.
Add to that the realisation that we can look forward to opening our gym in July rather than August, and an already emotional trainwreck of a Mammy became an absolute blubbering mess!
Messages began to come to my phone…promises of coffee dates and delight as friends realised they can finally visit parents and siblings. Our beloved family and friends who have been so far away and yet so close since March, can now be visited and seen for the first time in almost 4 months. Lists of shops and businesses were announcing their new opening dates on their social media, creating a whirl of anticipation and excitement in my tummy.
It is indeed a rollercoaster.
We’re already in our carriages, strapping ourselves in, slowly ascending; knowing that there would be a sudden burst of speed…
But knowing it is coming and being ready for it are two different things.
Some of us now face going back to work earlier than we had anticipated. Some of us have had our time in lockdown cut short. Many of us now have to start to put actual measures in place to reopen our businesses, rather than the hypothetical maybes that we have been working towards.
And of course, with childcare facilities still closed, much of the workforce are wondering how the heck any of this is going to happen and who is going to look after children.
And so suddenly, in the midst of the sudden joy that came with the 20k restriction being lifted and phase 5 being no more, a new and unexpected series of worries and problems are facing some of us.
While we have longed for this to be over, how many of us were actually ready for things to suddenly burst back to life?
We’re in our rollercoasters but the safety barrier doesn’t seem to be quite secure. It’s a white knuckle kind of ride and it may be bumpy.
But the thing about rollercoasters, is that they begin and they move and they go up and down and spin around and round, but they eventually always slow down again and return to a pace where we can breathe easy again and eventually step back onto the platform.
And now, we all step onto the next rollercoaster in the Covid theme park.
It’s going to take us on another journey.
And it’s uncertain and frightening and exciting and wonderful all at once.
Whichever carriage you are in, I hope you have time to put your safety barriers down (or on!) and that you step off this particular stage of the journey a little further on and a little closer to contentment and normality.
And I hope that you all get to see someone who makes you smile in the next few weeks.