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Sue McRitchie talks…………………………New Beginnings?

I am writing this whilst the sun is still shining and the sky is blue. On the horizon there is, however, the ever darkening cloud of a return to ‘lockdown’ restrictions sweeping the country as, once again, we struggle to make decisions which not only reduce the spread of this virus but support the vulnerable in all walks of life to live and work safely.

Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine we would have the six months we have just gone through. As the seasons change I find myself considering how our very existence appears to have moved since last autumn and, needless to say, none of us could have envisaged the different life we lead now.

I consider that I am, and have been, truly blessed when, at the beginning of ‘lockdown’, a beautiful spring/summer emerged for us all and I was able to take advantage of the gifts of a house and garden in the countryside of England. I was able to walk my hour of freedom through the pathways and lanes of the village and gain an appreciation for the remoteness of my life and be thankful for the gifts I have, whilst sparing more than a thought for those not as fortunate, either locally or nationally.

My belief at that time was, like many others, that these restrictions on our lives and separation from loved ones, whilst challenging on one level, would be removed over time and we would soon return to ‘normality’. As we now know, that resumption of life as we knew it will take longer than expected and for many coping with loss and significant changes, will never be the same again.

How then do we manage this new way of living; a constant, shall I or shan’t I question added to every action? With the addition of a painful balancing of consequences of action and, indeed, inaction.

There is no doubt at all that the financial and emotional impact for individuals, the economy and education has been significant and in this article I am in no way trying to diminish that or ignore the pain. And, perhaps, we could take some time in our rush to return to our previous existence and cherish those moments of connection with our neighbours, the kindness of others and sense of community which emerged since March. In addition, we could recognise that the dramatic reduction of travel allowed our precious world a rare respite with the significant reduction in air pollution.

Some of us have discovered that we can create a beautiful way of being with less pressure heaped on ourselves from the internal and external expectations driving our existence and expectations. Perhaps this feeling of greater balance is something we could strive for as we move forward into living alongside the virus and managing the impact.

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