Winter is usually a busy and hectic time of year. It is often the most frantic period for businesses, and schools and universities are often run off their feet with exams. I knew I wanted to write an article about this time of year but my plan for it changed so many times (sorry, editors!) and I think that reflects how unsettled this winter will be compared to previous ones.
Normally, I spend December rushing around a cafe serving coffee to disgruntled Christmas shoppers while trying to fit in seeing all my friends and family. Then, for the rest of winter, I am left catching up on everything I put off over the festive period. This year I am probably doing neither. At first, I was looking at this situation from a fatalistic point of view- that there was nothing I could do to change this and that I should direct my energy towards making the most of a relaxing, much more chilled out winter.
I am still clawing at keeping that mentality but in the U.K, the rules seem to be constantly changing. Christmas, for example, was pretty much cancelled leaving me a little setback. My plans had to change again- I was no longer able to see some of my family that I have spent every Christmas with up till now. I am not alone in this. It has been hard to see so many families who had to quickly rearrange their plans and work hard to stick to the rules. It left many people I know stranded in cities and unable to visit any family at all.
In the U.K., our Prime Minister ordered a hasty change to the restrictions over Christmas. He had initially released a set of rules to be put in place to slightly relax the constraints that allowed three households to mix over five days for various Christmas meetups. These rules were announced weeks ago, and people made plans accordingly. Since, he has backtracked and changed those rules almost completely. The new orders vary depending on the place in the U.K. where you live. Regardless, there are restrictions across the board. The execution of the latest announcement ran parallel to when Boris Johnson effectively cancelled the Eid celebrations back in May, mere hours before it was meant to begin.
Of course, the restrictions for a lockdown are understandable and everyone wants to see the end of the spread of Co-vid 19. However, to create such strict rules with little notice ignores the fact that people have already been preparing for Christmas, similar to the way people had prepared for Eid. There were stories from May of people who had already arrived at family houses for Eid before it had been cancelled. It is difficult to prepare for the rules when they seem to be able to change at any time. At this point, it just seems cruel to have dangled that five-day grace period, to then take it away just days before the event. I am confident that these rules will continue to adapt to the situation, as they should, but I find it difficult to prepare mentally for an unforeseeable future.