"Is it just me who feels a bit like the pandemic is now a distant memory?"

Sussex student Jenny Bathurst has been writing for us about pandemic life since lockdown began back in March last year.

Jenny Bathurst
Jenny Bathurst

She has now turned those columns into a book Lockdown Observed: Becoming an Adult Without Leaving the House.

The pandemic robbed Jenny of the chance to sit A levels. But she ended up with three As and is now studying journalism at the University of Brighton (Eastbourne campus).

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Here is her latest contribution.

"Is it just me who feels a bit like the pandemic is now a distant memory? Yes, we still hear the familiar buzzwords such as ‘booster jabs’ and ‘face coverings’ here and there, but it almost feels as if even the journalists (and I feel I can say this seeing as I am halfway to becoming one) are growing tired of discussing something which turned the world completely upside down.

"I understand and am completely sensitive to the fact that for many around the world, Covid19 isn’t simply a thing they can shove to the back of their minds. In fact, for those suffering with long Covid or those who have lost a loved one to the virus, the effects of the pandemic are still extremely present and I can only sympathise and imagine how hard the past couple of years must have been for these people. However, for the rest of us I feel that in recent times there has been a shift.

"I don’t think many of us expected the events of March 2020 to be as prolonged as they turned out to be. I remember at the time finding comfort in the fact that these measures were only being considered for ‘three weeks’ and that after that I would have my life back, but of course we know now that this wasn’t the case.

"Despite this, I can’t quite put my finger on whether the ‘pandemic years’ went by in the blink of an eye or were the most painstakingly long and drawn-out days of my life. I probably won’t be alone in admitting that the idea of returning to another lockdown in our homes is the stuff of nightmares. I would relish the idea of moving from my bedroom to the living room – not really the stereotypical source of excitement for an 18-year-old.

"But equally how can it be that it was nearly two years ago since the beginning of the pandemic reared its’ ugly head? I feel that it has been an absolute whirlwind and it’s only now that I look around at the debris and realise that the storm has settled and we are just now picking up the pieces.

"I agree that precautions should of course still be taken and this ride isn’t completely over yet, however I just don’t feel the same shame as I used to when hugging a friend or family member or popping into an empty shop without a face covering. I know that many might read this and fiercely disagree and wish to remain very cautious, and of course that’s okay. It’s just that realising that the twists and turns that we have all battled with may finally be coming to a final and actual end is a complete weight off my shoulders. Now the real test is if I read this back in a year’s time, scoffing “little does she know.”