Today marks a year since the last COVID lockdown of Sydney ended. In three days’ time the need to isolate if you’ve caught COVID will end. The roads are full of cars and the city is crowded on weekends. Things really do seem to be almost back to normal.
The truth is that I’m actually feeling kind of nostalgic for the lockdown. Sure you couldn’t buy much or go far, but I quite enjoyed the quiet shopping centres and roads. No wasting half a weekend driving out to some dingy suburb for lunch. We were fortunate that our local government area is scenic and includes national parks and beaches, so when we did leave the house it was to enjoy some relaxing scenery.
I miss helping my son at school during the day rather than it consuming the evenings and weekends.
I miss the work video meetings where everybody in the state, no matter what their position, would chat about whatever was important in their lives at that moment. You didn’t have to waste your time driving into some distant office and seeing nobody anyway.
But I do enjoy the fact that we can cross the river to eat some more authentic fare, attend karate lessons and concerts and travel again, even if I have missed my chance to go overseas or even fly at all. Now it is the weather that keeps us indoors and the continuation of the relentless work that chains us to our desks.
The sameness of the days turns out to be less about lockdowns and more about life in general.
We were lucky during the lockdown, far luckier than many in worse situations, in apartments or unstable jobs, without the education to teach help their kids, without the money or resources to cope. Those who missed medical appointments or whose mental health suffered.
I do still miss the quiet.