There is comfort in the familiar

So, have we all been following the news lately? I have, though I’m damned if I can remember many details. For over a year now, Covid -19 has dominated the headlines, and rightly so, it was literally life or death news. But it has been over a year. The great pendulum is swinging back and we’re getting other stories. Political scandals, disasters, all the ‘In other news’ stories; it’s back to business as usual for the newsrooms, and there’s something comforting about that.

Take a few of today’s headlines. There’s a major fuss brewing about how BoJo funded redecorating Downing St. There’s an ongoing scandal regarding contracts being awarded to Tory friends and party donors. The EU is threatening to punish the UK over Brexit breaches, and Scottish Independence is an issue again. These are all familiar stories, we’ve seen versions of them for years, we know how they’re going to play out (with a lot of mud-slinging from both sides) and we know how they’re going to end (with very little being achieved and no one being held accountable for their actions beyond an implied slap on the wrist).

And somehow, right now, that’s comforting.

There is great comfort in knowing what’s going to happen. This past pandemic year has been an endless exercise in not knowing what comes next. Each day, we watch the numbers of new cases and hospitalizations with fear, and the number of vaccinations with hope, but we don’t know which way either will go. We’ve had to get used to wearing masks and keeping a distance from people and we don’t know how long this will go on, or what greater changes we might be required to make in the future. We’ve all had to change or defer or cancel plans, with no idea when we can make those plans again.

(As an aside; I had booked a trip to Canada for last April. When all this kicked off, I thought, ‘that’s fine, I’ll rebook for June or July; surely all this will be sorted by then.’ I can only marvel at my innocence.)

Looking back, I realise that even in the first lockdown, I was trying to balance uncertainty with familiarity. Faced with several weeks of nothing to do, I started re-reading the Discworld books, and Harry Potter. I started re-watching old movies and tv shows. I went back to hobbies I haven’t pursued in 20 years. These things were like buoys in a sea of uncertainty.

I know the world is changing, and I’m excited for that change. I think there are changes that need to happen. But somehow, It’s comforting to look at the headlines and know that certain things, like political scandal, are eternal. It’s comforting to read a book you’ve read before, re-watch a movie or tv show, travel a road you’ve been down before knowing the destination, but still enjoying the journey.

All of the above is really just me trying to justify my 100th re-watch of Good Omens.

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