As we start to re-enter society, Olivia Adams pens her hopes for the future – plus what she’d like to leave behind
We’re nearly unlocked, can you feel it? The societal norms we took for granted might soon be ours once more. But as I start to contemplate life after lockdown, I realise there are quite a few habits and routines I would like let go of. And there are quite a few new discoveries I’m keen for us all to hold on to.
Firstly, national solidarity. The community closeness – even in overpopulated and anonymous London – and random acts of kindness from people has made my eyes water. I hope so very much that this sustains. I also hope our new-found respect and gratitude for our public health care system and the key workers who run it lives on. Funding a health care service that is based on clinical need rather than the ability to pay must stay a priority in the government’s manifesto.
Female leaders are lacking
I am acutely aware of my privileged status, which disconnects me from the upsetting realities domestic violence victims face at home, but it’s not difficult to see how coronavirus has highlighted a worrying gap between men and women when it comes to pay division and gender-based violence. As women’s charity helplines record unbelievably high numbers of phone calls asking for help, we must keep awareness and funding at the top of the government’s agenda going forward. Interestingly, Nahla Valji, the UN’s senior gender adviser to the executive office of the secretary general, told the Guardian, ‘If there were more female leaders, the world might have been able to anticipate some of the crises it is facing now, such as an increase in violence against women.’
While I’d like to return to my office working environment as soon as possible (I’m over typing from my childhood bedroom), I’m pleased the lockdown has killed off the sceptics of working from home. It has shown that many businesses can continue to function successfully, and this is brilliant news for working mothers, who have long faced scrutiny and judgement for requesting flexible working hours. Now they are able to show they are still just as productive and effective.
‘Home workouts’ and ‘baking’
Like the majority, I have had (plenty of) time for personal reflection during lockdown. Uninterrupted thoughts have helped me realise I sometimes relish a slower pace of life (baths, reading, etc), and I no longer wish to invest in guys who are clearly time wasters. Instead, I shall continue nurturing my extra strong, communicative relationships with family and friends.
A study by the Reboot Online Marketing Agency, which examined search terms used between January 18 and April 15, found a massive increase in UK Google searches for ‘home workouts’ and ‘baking recipes’. This highlights how lockdown and social distancing measures are having a marked effect on the way we live our lives in the time of Covid-19. Let’s take these positive lifestyle changes with us (but leave TikTok videos in quarantine, please).
Business as usual isn’t better
Admittedly, there have been days when my mood has been as dark as my roots. I’ve thought, ‘Why my generation to live through a pandemic? Why can’t it be in the next 100 years? I’m in the prime of my life!’ But there is good to come from this. There really is. Before coronavirus, we had awareness about how we are harming the planet, but it wasn’t enough to make us change our ways. Now we’re seeing first-hand the positive effects Covid-19 is having on the environment.
From Paris to India, skies have cleared. Pollution isn’t normal and we don’t have to have it in our future. We can consciously travel (from taking the train to choosing eco-friendly hotels) and put pressure on the government to do more (setting carbon limits and promoting renewable energy sources). I don’t want to return to a polluted environment, do you?
Business as usual isn’t better. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make some real changes – big or small – to our lifestyles and the planet, so let’s not relapse. It’s been a memorable ride.