By the time this is published, we would have been locked down for almost a week. The British Prime Minister has banned all non-essential travel. Most businesses and places where people congregate are now closed. We are allowed out only for one period of exercise and to buy food or medicine. But regular trips to the supermarket are discouraged.
I was scrolling through photos of more carefree times and I found myself yearning for those days to come again soon. A time when the old and young are safe. When our health workers will have a normal shift at work. When no one says “Stay safe” or “Take care” because they are genuinely worried for our health.
It made me think of things I am looking forward to when this is all over. And I found I loved the small things that I often took for granted.
Fearlessly hugging people
I’m an awkward hugger. I feel uncomfortable letting people into my space. And I feel I haven’t quite got the hang those polite ones we are duty bound to give while greeting people.
But I do love hugs from close friends and family. You know, the ones that warm you from the inside. The ones that say “I’m so happy to see you” or “I’m going to miss you so much” without saying a word. They are the best.
Now I think I could extend my capacity for hugs to the rest of the world.
People have claimed therapeutic benefits of a good hug. Oxytocin levels can be instantly boosted which soothes loneliness and isolation. It lifts serotonin levels creating a sense of happiness. They claim it can also strengthens the immune system.
I can’t wait for this pandemic to be over to fearlessly embrace people. So watch out!
Enjoying a meal at a restaurant
Food! Glorious food! And I didn’t have to cook it!
My parents owned a restaurant while we were growing up. I know how difficult it can be to keep a small business like that up and running. It’s a lot of hard work and long hours. So there are many reasons why I like eating out if we can.
I was sad to see my favourite Lebanese restaurant close indefinitely because of this crisis. Loved eating their mezze platter full of dips and pickles and falafel.
The last time I visited, their doors were closed. I could see someone talking to staff through the big glass windows. They all looked worried.
I am looking forward to seeing people enjoy their meals and each other’s company in local pubs and restaurants. And I can’t wait to see family run local businesses supported again.
Wandering museums and art galleries
I have a weakness for the old and beautiful, or even the new and fascinating.
Before the lockdown, I loved walking through various London museums to see their exhibitions. Drinking in how different people throughout history saw the world and expressed it in their own way.
Now the Victoria and Albert (V&A) Museum has closed its doors to the public indefinitely. It’s one of my two favourite museums in London. The other is the Tate Modern with their beautiful Rothko room. The Tate is closed until at least the 1 May.
It would be nice to see the museums open again. To see the old buildings come to life with people enjoying beautiful, interesting things and learning their history.
Not being paranoid
With the emergence of COVID19, there has been a rise in racism directed against the Asian diaspora. It doesn’t matter if we are from China or not. We are now an open target for fear and hatred from some members of the community.
The media has been quick to pick up on these stories and I have been trying not to let it get to me. Only it has.
From odd looks to strangers covering their nose and mouth around me, there have been instances where I have felt uncomfortable to be in my own skin.
I am telling myself I am being paranoid. But I still find myself trying to calm my nerves and anger as I try to look for the good in people.
I am looking forward to feeling like I am part of the community again. I am looking forward to feeling clean and not an object of someone’s fear because of the way I look.
Most of all, I am looking forward to a cough just being a cough. A look just being another look. I don’t want to be worried about potential racists any more.
Going to church again
Christians are encouraged to continue to meet and support each other. The world can be a hard place, and it is important to meet regularly to hear from God’s word, the Bible, and help one another.
Unfortunately, with large gatherings being discouraged at the moment, our Sunday services have stopped. I understand their reasoning. We are a mixed congregation with many people in their 60s or older. It is loving to stop and protect those who may be vulnerable to this illness.
I understand this. But I still miss going to church on Sunday. Yes, we have the talks live streamed into our homes, but it is not the same as meeting up with people over coffee to see how they are.
It is a broken and imperfect world. And this necessary separation reminds me there is a better time coming.
One day we will all meet together and worship God perfectly in heaven. Where there will be no more sickness, death or tears. “No more shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not fill out his days”.
That’s my forever home. That is where I am heading. And I long to meet everyone there one glorious day.
What are you are looking forward to when all this is over?