This week our Claire had a video chat with her friend in Wales…

We were talking about the fact that the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) had stated that Coronavirus will be with us “forever in some form or another”. This prompted my friend to mention that, if coronavirus will be with us forever, big events like Glastonbury probably wouldn’t take place again. My friend, who has volunteered at Glastonbury many times, then said how lucky she’d been to attend such events.

This prompted me to think about the things I’d taken for granted. For instance, I used to be able to hop on the bus to the city centre, go shopping, have a meal out, and go to the cinema without really giving it any thought. Now, of course, Coronavirus makes me think twice.

Although it’s good to take stock of the changes Coronavirus has brought to my life, I also believe I shouldn’t just appreciate the things I’ve lost but the things I still have. For example, being on the internet meant that I was able to stay connected to my friends during lockdown. It also means I’ve been able to learn a foreign language, do a writing course, get a takeaway, and watch films and even some theatre productions without ever having to leave the house. Many people don’t have these luxuries. So how lucky am I that I do!

When I look at it – the fact that I no longer take my life for granted – I can see that, really, Coronavirus has been a big wake up call. The acknowledgement that life is only temporary is not only making me appreciate what I have and what I’ve lost but also made me more determined to enjoy my life.

Initially, though, the prompt to think more about my mortality made me feel fearful and so I stayed home more, where I felt safe. Then that illusion was well and truly shattered when I had to have workmen in to fix a burst pipe. That is when I realised, no matter where I was, I could never be 100% safe. So why stay home and be miserable when I can go out and be happy? For sure, going out and being amongst people who might have the virus is scary, but, if I’m sensible and follow the safety measures that have been laid down, the odds are overwhelmingly in my favour that I will be OK. This isn’t true of everyone but, again, this is making me appreciate how lucky I am. So why squander my fortune? In the last few days alone, I’ve met up with my best friend, taken advantage of the government’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme, taken a train to Birkenhead, and had my hair cut. All of which have given me a sense of freedom and happiness I’ve not enjoyed since the beginning of the year.

However, I still find myself being mindful that, now I’m going out more, I may only ever be 5 to 14 days (the incubation period of Coronavirus) away from fighting the virus. This doesn’t seem to scare me though. Instead, it’s making me more determined to appreciate life. In some ways, I guess it’s like being in a sweetshop with only 15 minutes to spare. I’m not gonna worry about the dental bill. I’m gonna grab what I can.