I have just returned from a month in Norway visiting my wife’s family, having not been able to meet them at all for two years. As you can imagine, for my wife especially, it was incredible to be with them again after so long.
What is harder to imagine is that when we – us and our three teenage children – discussed the whole trip, every single one of us had a surprising highlight: the four days we spent right at the beginning of August in a non-descript quarantine hotel within a stones’ throw of Oslo Gardemoen Airport.
Our food was brought to us three times a day in brown paper bags and hung on our hotel room doors. We had our small and by-no-means-impressive rooms to live in and a concrete car park with a small banked grass verge for a bit of outside time. We could also head off-site once a day for a walk.
It was the most severe simplification of life I have ever experienced, even taking the lockdown life we’d become used to over the last year to a whole other level. It could have been a nightmare. Why it wasn’t is tremendously interesting and something I’m keen to learn from.
We enjoyed large quantities of time together. We watched some movies, talked lots, read some books. We played very simple games (UNO anyone?)! Most of life’s distractions were removed. It felt like genuine rest.
There are some massive lessons to take with us back into ‘normal life’. What we do with these, I’m not quite sure yet, but to do nothing would, I’m certain, be missing a big opportunity.