I remember live music and seeing everyone so happy. Singing along and dancing like no one was watching in the pouring rain at festivals. Not caring to taste a friends drink out of their glass or passing food in your bare hands.

I remember shopping for clothes I didn’t need in shops that were packed with maskless faces, coughing and sneezing without so much as a blink of an eye.

I remember airports and luggage carried off by strangers. Holidays and getaways all for escaping normal life, normal life hey?

I remember picnics and restaurants, pubs and clubs. The sweaty ceilings dripping down and sticky floors, drink spills and drunken falls. Queuing to enter before midnight, crowded rooms filled with people dancing their stresses away.

I remember cinemas and theatres. Recliners and popcorn. The silence of fifty people in the big screens all waiting in anticipation.

I remember swimming pools and exercise classes. The red faces powering through in hopes of reaching their goals before summer. Saying bye to instructors after class, wishing them a nice weekend filled with excitement and experience.

I remember movie nights with friends and Christmas get-togethers, a takeaway at my cousins not thinking about distancing. Road trips for miles not worrying about rule breaks.

I remember hugging and touching. Kisses on the cheek from parents so close not knowing they’d be out of reach for days, weeks, months.

I remember thinking normality wasn’t great. Wanting more and appreciating people less.

I remember a time before hands, face, space. A time when touching a door handle didn’t make me think or pressing the button at the traffic lights. A time before ‘sorry only 8 people in at once’. When overcrowding was never a thing or when hand sanitiser wasn’t a priority. Clubs would stay open late and people danced in the streets.

A time before Boris would be a regular on our screens. We didn’t know about the ‘R’ or the ‘curve’ and ‘next slide please’ wasn’t a meme. Before furlough and reduced staffing. A time when a cough didn’t warrant a stare, toilet roll wasn’t gold dust and the person next to you in the queue wasn’t 6 feet away.

We’ve entered a time of unknown and paper thin promises. A time that government decides for us to stay in or go out but be safe but go to work but only if you have to. A time that holds little adventure just cancellations and delays. A time of sheltering and abiding by rules enforced overnight. A time of lockdowns, death tolls, social distancing and mask wearing. A time of untruths, vulnerability and sacrifice.

A time of key workers in supermarkets and heroes in hospitals.

A time when virtual connection is the highlight of the week. Zoom quizzes and webcam chats. Self care and mindfulness.

Long walks with your household and distant runs with your friends.

A time of reading and watching TV. Baking and doing jigsaws. Gaming and painting. Making babies and working from home. Yoga and meditation from the comfort of your living room.

A time for writing, blogging and vlogging. Learning languages and making podcasts.

The world has changed there’s no doubt about that.

The countries in which we live will once again be in spotlight as the world tries to enter a new chapter, a post-coronavirus era.

Now ‘normal’ is over and the reign of a ‘new normal’ has been crowned.

But it makes you wonder whether that normal was ever normal in the first place.

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