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Maybe it’s all the talk of “getting back to normal”, shops opening, social bubbles, or maybe it’s all the news stories of violence and intolerance and hate but this week I have felt overwhelmed and, to be honest, anxious. Having lived this secluded life for three months, the real world is creeping back into our lives and it’s not the changed place we all hoped it would be.

This has been a period of huge emotional waves. Terrible sadness and loss but also a reconnection with nature, ourselves, our families. Hopes that things will be different now; that we have learnt what is important and what we can do without. I can’t accept that we’re all so eager to get back to shops, filling up our cars with petrol and the traffic jams we will all be a part of once again. 

Don’t get me wrong -  I do want “normal”. I want routine. I want to see the people I love and for others to be able to get back out into society. I cannot wait to reconnect with people, to chat to a stranger in a queue and see wee ones out having fun and making noise. But it’s not all going to be the same and that’s going to take us time to adjust to. We’re all going to be queuing and wearing masks for quite some time. So the same but very different.

I hope we will have a new appreciation for what others do for us. There has truly been so much kindness. But cruelty too – impatience, rudeness, whataboutery. No doubt crisis brings out the best and the worse in us. Communicating by keyboard gives people the confidence to voice unpleasant opinions and to shout at strangers. So it seems important that we remember we have learnt: That we cannot provide for our families without the people who stack the shelves, that nurses do so much more than pay attention to the medical needs of our loved ones, that people step up and help the most vulnerable out of the kindness of their hearts. 

I have definitely reached the bottom of the boredom basket. Even the things that brought me joy at the start – the chance to catch up on reading or TV shows and the projects I could not achieve have lost their shine. I don’t have the inclination to sit and watch even shows I enjoy. I can’t muster the energy to clean out THAT kitchen drawer, nevermind tackling the room where everything goes when visitors come round. I’ve hit a bump in the road. And so I am ready, when the time is right, to get back out there. I hope to see you about. 

Bronagh McAtasney – having a moment

About the Author

Bronagh McAtasney is the creator of @NrnIrnGirl1981, real extracts of the diary of her 13 year old self. She is studying for a Master's in Public History, focussing on the unheard stories of women and has worked with the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland on projects looking at diaries and letters locked away in the archives.
She lives in Benagh with four cats, two dogs and a teenager.

 

 

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