If we worried about going into lockdown, we may worry more coming out of it

Closeup portrait young nervous woman biting her fingernails craving something or anxious, isolated o

Do you worry about coming out of lockdown? - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A year ago tomorrow it was a cold and wet Friday in Norwich. 

It was my grandmother's funeral at Earlham Crematorium and due to the abysmal weather around 60 members of my family waited together in a small room for the service to begin, standing shoulder to shoulder.

My only worry was not getting wet.

Later that evening 27,000 people crammed into Carrow Road to watch Norwich beat Leicester, the last time City had a full house at home.

My only worry was Norwich getting enough points to avoid relegation.


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Social distancing and facemasks weren't on the agenda, yet within three weeks, the whole country was in lockdown as coronavirus cases started to pile up in the UK.

We had plenty to worry about then and even more so in the months since - from the government stats to lockdown rules to breaking restrictions to remembering to wear facemasks or even securing a delivery slot for an online shopping order.

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If you worry about things enough you can eventually end up worrying about everything and mentally end up in dire straits.

Which is appropriate as Mark Knopfler's band had a song called Why Worry? It was a couple of years before American singer Bobby McFerrin had a big hit with Don't Worry, Be Happy which came a decade-and-a-half after Stevie Wonder's Don't You Worry 'Bout A Thing.

Musicians only seem to write about not worrying or there being no need to worry.

A song about being worried would probably have very little commercial appeal and the singer would come across like a wet lettuce. Maybe Elton John was wrong and, for a songwriter, worry seems to be the hardest word.

It's a word we often use multiple times to dismiss things, to allay fear, to show we are strong, to reassure or to brush off something that is actually worrying us.

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Anyone who has ever been to Australia or watched Neighbours, Home and Away or even The Sullivans (Hi mum) will have picked up that Australians love to use the phrase 'No Worries'.

Go Down Under and it's as ubiquitous as 'Have A Nice Day' in the USA. Do Australians really have no worries? It appears not, well apart from that social media rascal Mark Zuckerberg.

I find myself writing it several times a day on emails and wonder what sort of message it conveys. I suppose it's a convenient way of saying everything is OK, which in 2020 and 2021, it clearly isn't.

So what are we really worried about now?

After Monday's announcement about lockdown restrictions easing on four dates, set five weeks apart, there appears to be little to worry about. Freedom is coming back!

If you're over 70 you may have spent a year worrying about getting coronavirus, but that worry has hopefully been removed now thanks to the amazing vaccination programme, that could see all over-40s jabbed by May.

On the face of it, it would seem that our worries are easing, even our coronavirus alert level has dropped down a level this week.

But there will be plenty of people who were worried about going into lockdown that are now equally (if not more) worried about coming out of it. 

We've all seen the roadmap and all worked out when we can do what.

But lockdown has given us all new lives that have been cut off from the past.

We've stayed in more, we've not seen friends, we've avoided the shops, the beach, the football ground, the live events, restaurants, pubs, swimming pools, you name it.

And now it seems that slowly and surely we can go back. Which is a big worry for people, myself included.

We've all made new routines for ourselves and become used to the 'new normal'. I am sure people are going to feel anxious, nervous and possibly overwhelmed at the thought of returning to the old way of living. 

Parts of lockdown are nice and convenient, such as working from home, even having the kids nice and safe home-schooling, as hard at is, gives you less reason to worry about them.

I'm not sure I want to fling the doors back open and embrace the old way of living again.

I worry that experiences won't be the same, I worry that some things, such as watching a live football match, a gig, a movie or taking part in a running event, will feel so diluted in terms of fun and enjoyment that I'd rather vote with my feet and opt out.

We may all get the green light to return to work on May 17 or June 21, but the thought of sitting in a busy office once again fills me with more worry than anything.

Going into lockdown and being told to essentially go into some kind of hiding was always going to be easier than reversing the process, when it feels like we have to emerge as social butterflies and make up for lost time.

I had a taster of what it might be like in the future this week.

I took my kids to the playground and they had some school pals there they hadn't seen since December.

Within five minutes they started chasing a football around like a flock of pigeons scrabbling over a discarded chip at the back of Norwich market. Shins were kicked, squabbles broke out and I found myself trying to stop them scrapping.

Other parents were involved, fingers were pointed and social distancing rules fell apart.

It was the most people I have mixed with in almost a year and I thought to myself that it would've been easier to stay at home.

Of course you are welcome to return to the old world at your own pace, but if you have more worry about doing so, please don't worry that you are alone - you most certainly aren't. 

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