FOGO - The Fear of Going Out
Updated: Jul 23
4th of July - “Our Independence Day”
Tomorrow in England the lockdown rules are being relaxed allowing the grand reopening of restaurants, cafes and small shops with only 1 metre plus of social distancing. Sanitation stations, stickers on the floor, face masks and signs: ahhh freedom!
Can we expect a wild rush of people off to relive the good old days with social distanced dinner dates and coffee with friends? Will there be queues of excited crowds like we saw with the reopening of Primark? Is everybody champing at the bit to be set free from their house arrest and be let loose on the highstreet?
Personally, it’s a strong no.
While the idea of leaving my house is marginally less daunting than it was, anxiety still slithers in when thinking about going out. It’s not that I’m particularly afraid of catching coronavirus as I have the luxury of youth, or that I’m especially worried I’ll infect anyone else as I know I’m taking all the relevant precautions, yet a tight sense of dread still grips me at the thought of life going back to normal. Don’t get me wrong, I really miss my friends, and I’m super excited to start sixth form in september, but something about the world creeping back to normality makes me feel uneasy.
Maybe I fear that nothing good will have come from this tumultuous period when there is the clear opportunity, and need, for change. It could be the thought of losing the relative freedom of excess time this lockdown has provided that gives me the heebee jeebees. Perhaps I worry I’ve lost my social skills and won’t know how to act around other people or make them like me. Or maybe it’s just the anxiety of leaving the safety and comfort of my home. Whatever it is, I can’t be the only one.
This anticipation and joy of life returning to normal can’t be shared by all, and the constant portrayal of it can be damaging. However you feel about the relaxation of Lockdown, whether you’re poised at the front door ready to run free at the first possible moment or you’re quite happy staying snuggled in your pjs for another few months, hold space for your feelings. Embrace your FOGO and don’t.
Although I do now feel more confident leaving the house and seeing more people (at a distance of course), I think I’m going to take it slow. Perhaps you need to as well. AND THAT’S OK.
Feel your feels, and don’t let anyone tell you they’re wrong.