Today was the first time in 78 days that I have experienced the joy of sharing a hug from a friend.
Prior to lockdown and the announcement of a pandemic I was the person who bought masks and toilet paper well in advance of any panic buying and my fridge and freezers were well stocked.
During lockdown I didn’t break any rules and took extra precautions to ensure no transmission was possible. Even as the levels came down I remained pessimistic, awaiting the emergence of community transmission and the decimation of our health system.
Today is Thursday and just three days into Level 1, where we in New Zealand now have the opportunity to return to our pre Covid lifestyle with the exception of international travel.
Although extremely grateful for the position we find ourselves in I can’t help but remain a little cautious however with zero active cases and no new cases for twenty days I am reassured enough that I can reduce my vigilance. As long as our boarders remain closed we should be free to socialise as before.
So with cautious optimism on Tuesday, what should have been a return to normality, strangely not much actually changed. At work the feelings from having physically distanced for so long remained, not leaning in too close and still weary of how many people were in meeting rooms. A similar experience occurred on Wednesday.
This morning, whilst at a coffee shop, I saw a friend who works next door and who I have been waving to over the last couple of weeks since we have been back. Today we both smiled, a more relaxed smile than usual and as I felt a wave of confidence come over me I thought what the hell so asked “Are you ok if I hug you?” We both embraced in a prolonged hearty hug, strong, warm and with purpose; this simple hug between friends was our acknowledgement of the end of lockdown. Later that day I say another friend and the same thing happened and then an ex colleague called in to say hello and we had a group hug.
Three hugs on the same day, three hug Thursday, signifying the celebration and goodbye to the lockdown fears and restrictions, hello bravery and freedom, freedom to be me!
Now I can’t wait until my cycle on Saturday where I will take the time to embrace each of my cycling buddies, no longer keeping my distance or using an elbow to connect.
Hug it out everyone! Life is good.