A few days ago, a friend tweeted me to say he couldn't wait for the virus to be brought under control with a vaccine, followed by the removal of all lockdown restrictions and then the happy relief of a return to the 'old normal'. I knew what he meant, yet all I could think of was Abba's The Day Before You Came:
I must have left my house at eight, because I always do.
My train, I'm certain, left the station just when it was due.
I must have read the morning papers going into town.
And having gotten through the editorials, no doubt I must have frowned.
I must have made my desk around a quarter after nine.
With letters to be read and heaps of papers waiting to be signed.
I must have gone to lunch at half past twelve or so.
The usual place, the usual bunch.
And still on top of this I'm pretty sure it must have rained.
The day before you came.
For many people, that was the old normal. A life lived by strict, rarely shifting routines. Always keeping an eye on a clock. Listening for the beep to tell us that the latest text, email or pointless video clip of a cat lip-syncing to George Ezra had landed in one of our growing array of in-boxes. Stuck behind a computer screen in an office, a shop or at a reception desk; waiting for the next patient or client to knock the door; waiting around for the next person who needed a haircut or taxied to the airport; washing the glasses behind the bar until someone asked for a pint, or hovering in the corner while you waited for someone to finish looking at the menu and order their food.
Waking the children in the morning and getting them dressed, washed, fed and bunged off to school (usually with lots of shouting from both sides). Maybe the school run. Your daily battle with the rush-hour traffic. A crowded bus. The dread of Monday morning. The weekly 'big shop'.
The scouring of the house for missing items of clothes before you fill the washing machine. Getting the children back and forth for sports, clubs and parties. Worrying about meetings. Marking homework (and worse if you are a teacher and marking dozens of other homeworks). Bringing work home because you're worried about competition from other colleagues. Dragging ourselves out of bed and already longing for the weekend by Monday lunchtime.
Those are the sort of routines millions lived their lives by until the end of March. That was the old normal and it's a way of life many of us used to complain about.
So much of it seemed to involve doing something simply because it had to be done ("A matter of routine, I've done it ever since I finished school," as Abba put it). Whether it gave us any pleasure was neither here nor there. It had to be done.
The trudge to work every day because we had to pay the bills and have enough money for the everyday luxuries and treats, the newest mobile or TV subscription service, or computer game or gadget. There was always something that needed to be done or purchased to keep up with our friends, neighbours and competitors.
But one thing seems certain already: the life of the old, once-normal routines is over. No one knows how long it will be before we can be reasonably sure that Covid-19 is contained, but it will probably be a long time before we escape from a new reluctance to hold, hug or shake hands with the abandon we once did.
When I was growing up, people outside the immediate family circle were rarely hugged, yet it has become a habit over the last two decades (I see it in my eldest daughter) to hug almost everyone after you've known them a few hours.
That will end, not least because most people now accept that rogue viruses could be part of everyday life.
Having spent much more time with our closest family - our partner and children - will we value them more? Pre-lockdown, there was increasing evidence that we lived almost separate lives under the same roof, watching different programmes and interacting with our own friends on computers and mobiles.
I've found that 24-hour lockdown with Kerri and the three children (21, 10 and almost three) has been an eye-opening experience.
We've had to spend more time talking together, eating together and playing together. That's probably the case for millions of others and I hope it will continue when lockdown eases and we go our separate ways again for most of the day.
I'm almost embarrassed to admit it, but it took lockdown to make me realise that life without Kerri and the children would not be worth living.
Lockdown has also forced us to rethink what really matters in life. For example, I no longer see the point of utterly futile exchanges with people on Twitter (I don't use other social media platforms) and I now don't engage with those who just seem to want to pick an argument or vent their spleen.
It's been wonderfully liberating. It's also made me realise that there is so much kindness, compassion and common decency if you just open your eyes and ears to it.
If people want to inhabit an echo chamber bubble, then let them, but I'm not going to let them drag me into their world anymore. And I'm pretty sure they'll be happier without me on their timelines.
There are very few moments in history when millions of us get the opportunity to reassess and reboot our lifestyles and routines and to make changes to how we live our lives and interact with everyone around us.
And that applies to when, where and how we work; how we educate our children; how we look after all our separate communities; how we safeguard health services; where we live (very few people would now question the importance of personal gardens and public parks); how we protect our mental health (now that millions recognise the scale and nature of the problem); and how we ensure there is a genuine, collective, community bedrock underpinning society. We really do need each other.
That we seize the post-lockdown opportunity for huge personal and societal change is, of course, not a given. Sometimes, it just seems easier to slip back into the old ways, the better the devil you know approach.
But, as I say, this is a rare moment in history when a challenge faces the entire world and, potentially, opens the doors to radical global thinking; doors which are usually locked and bolted.
The next months and years will be difficult, irrespective of how we respond to a tidal wave of unexpected, unprepared-for challenges.
However, if nothing else, we belong to a generation that has been presented with a chance to change the world and to change it for the better together.
I hope we rise to the challenge.