A startling thought came over me the other day. It’s been an entire year since I stepped foot in a cinema. The film was Little Women (Greta Gerwig’s adaptation, brilliant) and Covid was still in its infancy.
Now, nearly a year into the pandemic, going to the cinema and sitting in a dark, unventilated room with possibly hundreds of others seems barbaric.
But, as soon as vaccines are distributed to the masses, rates are down and restrictions have lifted, a trip to the movies will be top of my list (with a large tub of popcorn in hand, of course).
Taking joy in the small things is now something we are well-versed at, having been locked down in our respective homes for the majority of the past 12 months.
In the beginning, we ardently threw ourselves into baking, puzzles and any sort of craft. Later, we appreciated cosy nights in, a phone call from a friend and losing ourselves in a good book.
When things start to (eventually) open up it will, again, be the small things that offer the largest doses of joy.
“I’m looking forward to being able to be spontaneous again,” freelance journalist and editor, Rachel McGrath tells Yahoo UK.
“I want unexpected Sunday afternoon pints, days at the lido because I woke up and it was sunny and sitting in the park to eat lunch.”
Libby Page, author of The Lido, responded to a Tweet of mine posing the question of anticipated small joys with: “Browsing in a bookshop. Going to the theatre. People-watching in a cafe. Exercise classes in person. Eating out in restaurants. The cinema on a grey afternoon. Getting on a train. Haircut. Being able to go for a bra fitting in M&S.”
Others said they miss trying clothes on in changing rooms, as well as being able to go into shops and just browse, not looking for anything in particular.
Grabbing a coffee and people watching is also a missed pastime, according to the responses from the Twitter thread, as is sampling cheese at a local deli and visiting flower markets.
Leaver’s list also includes: “Eating an enormous bowl of rosemary hot chips at my local pub, browsing the aisles of the pharmacy, eating a packet of Percy Pig fizzy tails on the train next to my dog, writing in a library and walking outside knowing I am going to a destination outside my immediate neighbourhood.”
Hugs will be another thing not taken for granted in a post-vaccinated world. Chloë Hampson Ward, director of Comms Kick, says: “I am looking forward to giving my best mate, Sally, a hug. She gives the most meaningful genuine hugs upon meeting and pre-Covid, I really took them for granted and now I miss them! We have been friends since we were eight years old and only live half an hour from each other. However, as she is a mental health nurse working in A and E we aren’t even meeting for walks anymore as we think it is too risky.”
Writer, Tara Jane O’Reilly says getting her nails done will bring her a dose of happiness. “[I can’t wait to] hear that tap tap tap on my phone as I text with fresh acrylic nails again,” she says.
For some, it’s the simple act of being able to drive outside of their local area, visit vistas unknown and sample food not cooked in their own kitchen.
With one in six adults having now received their first dose of a Covid vaccine in the UK, these small joys could be closer than we think.
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