I HAVE an appointment with my doctor in two days’ time to receive my vaccine.
My partner, my parents, and one of my sisters have already received theirs.
Isn’t this amazing? And isn’t it hard to believe in a way?
We have all just lived through such a difficult and challenging year. A year full of anxiety and worry.
A lonely year during which we were forced to stay apart from one another by remaining at home, by ourselves.
But now it seems that this is all coming to an end, that we are going to come it, and be able to be together once more. I don’t know about you, but I feel as if I am waking from a dream and slowly adjusting to my real life again.
I think it feels like a dream because even though we had all adjusted to the restrictions that had been placed on our lives, our new way of living still felt strange, just as it does when we’re dreaming.
When we’re dreaming, we still feel like ourselves.
It’s everything that surrounds us that feels peculiar. We still felt like ourselves during this past year, but the life we were living changed and felt peculiar.
Nobody could have ever imagined we would live through such a time and few would choose to do so again.
Yet, I know that there have been some positives to the strange life I have lived during this pandemic.
There are negative aspects that I am looking forward to leaving behind, but there are definitely aspects I would like to carry with me into what will hopefully be my newly-restored normality.
One thing I would like to see us all bring into our new lives is the understanding that there is far more to everyone’s life than work.
We should all be allowed to find our own way of balancing that work with our wider lives.
Most of us have work responsibilities, but they aren’t our only responsibilities.
Some of us have to care for children while others have to mind elderly parents or relatives.
We have homes to maintain, our health to look after, and so much more to do.
Work is not the only important thing in our lives.
We saw this during the year whenever we connected with our colleagues on Zoom.
We saw children playing in the background in some houses or crying or asking for food in others.
One day, I told my colleagues that I was going to be offline for an hour or so while I brought my son and dog for a walk between rain showers.
They were fine with that as long as I caught up with my work later.
I’d love if employers would accept this flexible approach to work.
I know it wouldn’t suit everyone or every sort of workplace.
For example, the likes of doctors and teachers need to be in a certain place for a certain amount of time if they are to do their jobs properly.
But there are lots of us who work on computers.
We have to attend a few meetings a week but other than that, our tasks merely have to be completed by a certain time.
Flexibility would work for them and help them to live more balanced lives.
Those are my thoughts for this month.
Hopefully, we will all get vaccinated soon and this dreamlike period of our lives will be over.
We will be able to turn the page of the coronavirus chapter and in the process, bring the restrictions it placed on our lives to an end.
Then we will return to our old ways of life and being together.
I’m looking forward to spending time with family and friends without having any cause for worry.
I’m longing to listen to live music, attend plays, and go to art exhibitions.
And if you’re reading this, employers, it would be great if you would allow your employees to try to establish their own balance of work and life, just as they tried to do during the pandemic.
Consider it one of the gifts of the pandemic.