‘We struggled together, now we must recover together’

By Shane Murphy
*Shane Murphy is a student of Economics, Politics and Law at Dublin City University who had previously completed work experience at the Roscommon People.

“If you’d have told me, a year ago, that I’d be locked inside in my home, I’d have told you, a year ago, interesting now leave me alone” – the opening line Bo Burnham’s 2020 Netflix special ‘Inside’. At the time, it was a throwaway statement, a topical joke.
  However, in retrospect, and in the wake of the lifting of restrictions recently, one can only look back at that line, and realise just how much we have sacrificed since that first March of the decade, and how much life has changed.

  While the cause was certainly noble, and arguably very necessary – no one can deny the negative impact two years of lockdown and intrusive restrictions have had on us as a population. We’re a sociable bunch us Irish, and asking us to give that up is akin to asking Americans to give up their 2nd Amendment right. Two years ago – I would have told you it was impossible, we simply couldn’t do it.

But, we did.

We gave up sport. Championships, leagues, matches and your local 5-a-side at the AstroTurf. Ceased at a moment’s notice. What many would have considered their main form of social interaction – children and adults alike – we were forced to abandon.
  The entertainment industry, arguably the hardest sector hit – gave up literally everything, for months on end. Countless musicians, dancers, actors, and others, all forced out of their livelihood for much of the pandemic.
  State exams – touted as the most important focus of our teenagers’ lives – were put on hold, leaving uncertainty among students, the Leaving Cert only making a return after extensive modification.
  And undoubtedly, the hardest hit by our lockdowns – those who lost loved ones – were forced to mourn at the grave alone without the support of those closest to them.

  However, despite the darkness of the last couple of years, it does really seem like we’re at the end. Normal life is resuming. The crowds are roaring in stadiums, the pub is alive with music. We are back together as we should be. And we have our collective spirit, patience, and excellent, strong, hard-working frontline staff to thank for this.
  But remember that there are people who are still struggling, still in shock, mourning, or fighting internal battles. As we struggled together, it is our duty to recover together. So give that person a call. See how they’re doing. Five minutes of your life could be the difference in theirs.
  And as much as life changes, the more it stays the same – so no matter what is going on in your life, or in the wider world, just bear in mind that no matter how dark it may seem, there will always be light at the end of the tunnel. If you’d have told me, this time last year, that we’d be near the finish line, I’d have told you that you’d lost your mind.

Alas, here we are.