Strange. That’s how I start my story when my grandchildren ask me what life was like during “the lockdown” of 2020: strange. People’s way of life, their hopes and dreams, everything: was put on hold. What shook everyone was the speed that the virus spread throughout the world, making its way to our shores... into our minds. What seemed like a minute issue on the other side of the globe quickly spiralled out of control with no country, no government, no one: being able to stop the spread...until it was too late. At the first news that something may happen, panic broke out across the nation with people panic buying tinned foods, frozen goods, toiletries, anything and everything that they could lay their hands on, they purchased. Looking back on it...I don’t blame them. No one knew what would happen, or how long the situation would last for. So when the time came where the only thing that we could do was stay in doors, in our homes, people were scared. Scared that they may run out of food, scared that they may lose their jobs, scared that they may lose their life.
I was sixteen at the time. I had just finished my mock exams in late February, now having my eyes firmly fixed on the real challenge… GCSE exams. The very thing that we had all been working towards for so many years was now in arm’s reach. I remember sitting in the head teacher’s office with him saying how he knows we will all do extremely well and how we should “Give it our all”...how wrong we all were. Even a few weeks before lockdown took effect, I was still naive and ignorant to the situation at hand. Me and some friends went out bowling when we noticed that the worker at the desk was wearing rubber gloves when he was handling our money. We just played it off as a laugh. Who knew that only the very next week we would get told that all schools were to be closed indefinitely with the exams not taking place. It was…heartbreaking, truly heartbreaking, not just for me, but for all the students in my year across the country. To hear that the thing that you have worked so hard for was now not to happen. It was like a punch in the gut, took the wind right out of everyone. It wasn’t the end we may have wanted but it was the end we got. A part of every journey is the end, and sometimes the path to the end is what truly matters, not the ending itself.
Lockdown. Staying indoors for an unknown amount of time. It was truly unprecedented times with panic and stress running high. No one knew what would happen. It was scary. No one ever thought that this would happen. Life as we knew it had ceased to exist forcing us to adapt to another way of life that once was only dreamed of. Well it came true: a horrible nightmare. Everyone was concerned, about their families, their personal wellbeing, and for me at the time… my future. There was just so much worry and doubt that it was inescapable, with it being every which way you looked. It was like this for weeks and everyone was suffering. The rich, the poor, it didn’t discriminate. It affected anyone and everyone. Naturally, it took its toll on our minds with many people feeling down and depressed. Who could blame them? Afterall I was one of those people. We were all nearing our breaking points, about to lose hope when all of a sudden... something miraculous happened: things started to get better. It took weeks but eventually food became available, the infection rate was starting to fall with the death rate soon to follow. It was all thanks to our NHS heroes, risking everything in order to care for those afflicted by it, putting their patient’s well being above their own. It was also due to the British people, holding on even when all hope seemed to be lost. It took a long time but lockdown was gradually eased and with the introduction of a vaccine, life returned to normal… but we all learnt something crucial from the lockdown, that that no matter how bad life is, there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel which will always light up a brighter future, a better life. Always.
by Toby Adlam