In March 2020, I was coming back from a week in London with several friends. We’d arranged to meet there, although we live in different countries, and we enjoyed it to the full. Between two work conferences for me, we crammed in a musical, museum visits, a pub quiz, and a lot of coffee and chat. It was fun; it was the old days, you know – when we were beginning to carry around little bottles of hand gel, but not wearing masks. So… It was fun.
It was also exhausting. I’m a solitary person most of the time, so when I came back, I was ready for a little peace and quiet. Beware of what you wish for… I got my peace and quiet all right! And as my professional life also came to a halt until I managed to make arrangements, I got a lot of time to myself. That’s when I got the confirmation of something – I definitely can’t write to order. The words just didn’t come. So I did other things – spent more time on social media, where I think the pandemic allowed us to connect more deeply than before. I found a new way to work. And I finally got my writing inspiration back. And of course, I signed with BSB!
We’re not out of the woods yet, and I’m very much afraid 2021 won’t be very different from 2020. There are, however, a few things that give me hope. The vaccines, for instance. And mostly the fact that as human beings, we can adapt. During WW2, it was “keep calm and carry on”. People managed. They had no choice. Maybe the main difference was that they could be together, and we have to conquer loneliness. Some of us do better with solitude than others – I get that. But living in the 21st century makes the current situation much more bearable that before – we have phones! We have the internet. We can be together alone.
Even in concentration camps, people adapted. Victor Frankl wrote afterwards: “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” What we are going through is much less dire than all that. So we’re going to make do. We’re human beings. We’re alive. That’s what matters.