The actual quote is: “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man,” by Heraclitus. It is quite a fitting quote for the times, as our “old life” slowly begins to resume. But the thing is, it isn’t our old life, it’s a new normal. While the same activities may resume, they are strangely not the same.
Take returning to school. You would think that this would be the same. The same school run, the same lessons, the same timetable, the same children. Even the same teachers, the same chat by the school gates. But it isn’t, it is more complicated than that, we have all been changed, for better or worse, it has happened. The school run is physically the same, it is my perception that is different. The same children are sat in the classrooms, but they are different They have been changed by the past year. We all have.
So that something that should feel familiar feels strangely alien and we have to feel our way forwards towards a new way of being. Time will breed familiarity, the school run will start to feel routine, the chat will return to the everyday murmurings. But at the moment everything feels brand new. Like we had the chance to start over, to do things differently this time, to do them better.
Maybe we will just fall back into our old tracks, our old routines. Perhaps we will gossip in the same way. Possibly we will stand in the same place by the railings. Just speak to the same people, but I’m not so sure. We have changed, the river has changed, the old ways have been washed away, and maybe, just maybe, we have the chance to build something entirely new.