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EditorialsUpFront 06/20

UpFront 06/20

‘Slowly easing out of lockdown’ are not words that many of us would have expected to use this year. Especially as we emerged from the Christmas break to what we then called ‘normality’. Every year lots of us experience something that we endearingly call the ‘madness’ of Christmas: where we lock ourselves in with close family, only escaping for the occasional walk or short visit with other close family. We buy presents, eat and drink too much, play games and then breathe a sigh of relief when it’s all over and we can get back to normal. But in recent months vocabulary has changed. I wouldn’t like to be embarking on a course learning to be a TEFL teacher right now. Teaching English as a Foreign Language is hard enough without having to explain ‘self-isolation’, ‘social-distancing’ or ‘Test & Trace’ though these will be familiar to most. But how can we ever describe the word ‘normal’? Will we say it’s a word we used to use before the COVID-19 pandemic, but it no longer exists? It’s now called ‘New Normal’. That sounds too much like ‘Alternative Facts’. Reading through the comments in ‘Life after Lockdown’ on page 10 and listening to points raised by many of those I’ve spoken to in the last couple of weeks, the term ‘New Normal’ already feels like a slightly shallow way of describing something that might well have real power. Despite feeling trapped by isolation, there are many who have felt that the lockdown may have released them from a world gone mad. Some described it as like stepping off a treadmill; the endless race for more advances, more productivity and more growth—economic and spiritual. I’ve listened to many people who don’t want to go back to how things were. They want to stay close to family and friends and massively reduce their consumption of progress. There has been a lot of looking back in the last eight to ten weeks and in many ways, it’s been inspiring. Who could blame people for wanting to leave the treadmill to those that enjoy it?

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