An observation on returning to “normal”

In the UK the government has a timeline for relaxing restrictions up to June, and I hear talk about returning to “normal” like everyone else.

Given that I’ve always found the “normal” noisy, overly busy world draining and unwelcoming, even partial return to “normal” has actually made me feel worse, and note how much the world before lockdown was stressful and overwhelming.

I can use the example of traffic on the roads. During lockdowns the roads were clear and more relaxing to use and it was actually more of a pleasure, except that it wasn’t possible to drive very far. Even partial relaxing of restrictions has unleashed a torrent of additional vehicles, meaning that some of my least favourite roundabouts have become a bit of a nightmare to navigate again.

It’s not just affecting me as I see other drivers are impatient and rushing and it’s like the stress is transmitted from everyone’s cars and vans and looming trucks, all vying to get on to a roundabout to save a few apparently precious seconds, which means being slightly earlier to meet the next queue of cars half a mile down the road.

It’s not clear to me what this extra traffic is for. Is it all just people going to shops again? Just the additional people unnecessarily travelling to offices?

So returning any kind of “normal” is not a relief, it’s emphasising to me how broken “normal” was before.