Returning to ‘normal’ (and what that actually means)
I’d like to start this blog by with on a somewhat sombre note by thinking about the image of the Queen that circulated around social media yesterday. I read a tweet that really fascinated me, and it discussed the fact that one of the reasons that the Royal Family continues to endure (as an institution) is because, at its core, they are a family. So in key moments, such as a funeral, it can share in and reflect the suffering of the wider nation. We saw this yesterday, most of us could empathise with the situation on a fundamental level, recognising the fact it was a family mourning the loss of a husband, father, grandfather…etc, which this year, has been a situation that many of us are, unfortunately, all too familiar with.
Some of us have had to face this situation in much more bleak and lonely circumstances, with nowhere near the amount of support or privilege afforded to the Monarchy. Now, I wouldn’t blame you if you’re currently asking yourself why I have spent the last however many hundred words analysing the relevance of the Royal Family in a modern Britain. This is why. Because it has made me realise that, if this pandemic has taught me anything, it’s the importance of family. Cliché I know. But it really has…although I’ve been frustrated by the fact that I spent the entirety of term 2 at home, it has given me so much more time to spend with my family and for that I’m very grateful. As term 3 comes hurtling towards us, and with it the dawning realisation that my first year is nearly over, I’d like to reflect on term 2 and give some thoughts about moving forward.
Term 2 didn’t pan out as I expected. When I returned home on the 6 December, I thought I’d be back at Uni within a month, but little did I know that four months later I’d still be here. What that time away from campus has given me, however, is (like I say above) lots of time at home and surrounded by my family. It has also given me time to get to know my University friends virtually, and retuning back isn’t as daunting now I know that my friendships are stronger and more developed. The prospect of returning is also benefitted by the longer days, nicer weather and the fact things are (finally) starting to open up again. Of course, I am slightly anxious to go back, and that’s okay. I think it’s nice that returning to University is coinciding with, for lack of a better term, that slow return to normality because I can approach them with the same outlook. To take it at my own pace, slowly ease back into life as it was before and to not be pressured by anyone to start resuming certain things until I, myself, am ready.
I want to finish in the same (slightly serious) vein that I began in. Earlier, I used normality for lack of a better term as I think ‘normality’ is a bit of a slippery term to use. I don’t think anyone can actually define what normality is. Normality is a completely fluid notion (I told you it would get pretty serious). Of course, we can tell when normality has been disrupted, a global pandemic usually does the trick, but when normality has been disrupted it also means it is yours to re-define. What was ‘normal’ before the pandemic doesn’t have to be ‘normal’ after it. So, if you are nervous about returning to normality just remember that what that actually means is for you, and you alone, to decide.