The world as it was a couple of years ago didn't feel as though you'd miss it particularly when it was gone. In October 2018, I lost a friend and colleague suddenly and unexpectedly. There were things I wish I had the opportunity - or the balls - to speak to her about before she died, but I didn't. I wasn't brave enough to ask the questions - or to hear the answers - and they are moot now. If there's a point to that, it's precisely to note that I am not the kind of person of whom others say 'he's not going to die wondering'. Indeed, I'm probably going to die wondering. About a great many things. I changed to another job just under a year later, and - whether that was the cause or not, I'm not sure - my depression hit me again. There was something new and difficult about winter, bookended as that one was by the first anniversary of one awful and probably avoidable death and the fifth of another. I was adjusting to the change of environment, from a place where I had been part of the furniture, perhaps not liked and respected by all but at the very least able to find someone or something each day to look forward to. Teaching felt very much like a job - and one that I wasn't very good at and certainly wasn't enjoying - and I spent some time looking at other things. None of which were ever serious, but perhaps I was more ready than I had been before to give up.
The world, then, as it was a couple of years ago, did not feel like it was going to be lamented. There were things about it - going to the pub, band rehearsal, sporting events, even school, that shaped the weeks and the days, that were little lights on the way, and it wasn't until March of 2020 that we perhaps realised the extent to which we all lived for those things. And since then, in various combinations, we haven't had all the things we were used to. For example, I have not taken my children swimming for all that time. The small one hasn't been to the big water for nearly half of his short life. My band's forthcoming 'album' is marked up as '2019' in the files. It's taken us nearly two years, and not because we've got some grand artistic vision, we just haven't been allowed to get together to work on it for most of that time.
So the desire to return to normal is strong, for everyone. But - and I haven't really got much else to say other than this - let's not fuck it up quite so badly this time, eh? Last summer felt like a welcome return to normality, and then the autumn (at school in particular) was so weird, disrupted, obviously leading to another lockdown, This time as spring rolls around and I can look forward to wearing shorts and shoes that don't need socks, let's not jump the gun and have to all this shit again. Please...