2020 so far has been an absolute whirlwind – and not the good, refreshing, exciting kind. The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown created a completely foreign world for people all over the globe, in which the daily practices and social norms we took so much for granted were completely demolished. When a system override of this magnitude happens, there is not much left to do but build again from scratch.
This time last year, little did we think we would be in a position of worldwide quarantine, rendered helpless at the mercy of a deadly virus. Even more so, could we ever have pictured all that would go along with something that affects us and our lives to this scale?
This time last year, I would not have believed the fact that I would silently judge people for not wearing a facemask indoors in public.
I would have thought it ridiculous that we all frequently wait patiently for forty minutes in a spaced-out queue right through the shopping centre just to get into Tesco to do our weekly shop, standing surrounded by deserted clothes shops and restaurants.
I would have been shocked if I found out that, at different points in the lockdown, we could only travel 2 kilometres and 5 kilometres from our own houses, and only eventually be able to venture outside of our own county towards the end of the summer – and adhered to these rules.
I would have been surprised (and probably delighted – praise the leg room!) if you mentioned that we were legally only allowed to sit one-per-row on buses and trains.
“When a system override of this magnitude happens, there is not much left to do but build again from scratch.”
I would find it utterly unthinkable that schools and colleges could take a six-month hiatus, or if I found out that I would matter-of-factly finish my final exams from my bed at 10pm.
This time last year, I would have laughed if you told me that the European Commissioner was in national disgrace and was forced to resign after “merely” attending a Golf Society dinner along with 80 people in Galway.
And yet, all these rules and all these instances we have just taken in our stride. Although it was certainly a shock to the system at the beginning, we got on with it. Now, most of us barely bat an eyelid; we keep an eye on the precautions and follow the rules, as if we have always lived like this. Throughout the coronavirus, the pandemic, and global quarantine, humans have proved themselves to be as flexible and adaptable as ever. A new world has been forced upon us – but we have created the new norms to go with it.
Featured photo by William Murphy