SO, will you be heading to the high street today? There’s a fair chance I’ll already be perusing shop fronts on Buchanan Street by the time you read this, savouring the opportunity to browse something other than food shelves, maybe even treating myself to some new summer gear – there are certainly plenty of sales on.

I’ve also started planning a wee holiday up north and have booked a hairdressers’ appointment. I’ve looked out my monthly cinema pass in anticipation of re-opening around July 15.

I appreciate not everyone feels this way, but I’m ready to start living again. I’m also ready to accept some fundamental political realities.

Let’s face it, we’re all just guinea pigs now, part of a radical public health experiment the likes of which has never been attempted before. This experiment is reaching its most difficult phase yet, the bit where the Government has to somehow let people start doing normal things – like going back to work and spending money to keep the economy going – while simultaneously reminding us that we we’re not out of the woods yet. They have to encourage people to go out, while keeping them scared.

Many – including me – have criticised politicians for their missteps and mixed messages over the last few months. But I also recognise a number of basic truths that it’s better to get one’s head around sooner rather than later, regardless of party politics.

The first is that until coronavirus has been completely eradicated around the world, risk is going to play a part in our lives for the foreseeable future. The second is closely related: the state cannot tell us exactly how to manage this risk in every single circumstance. We may get health advice and government guidance, but ultimately we have to navigate this new, more precarious world on our own.

How we do this, and, crucially, how we feel about doing it, depends on many different things, of course, not least our age and underlying health, our financial situation and, to a significant extent, our personality.

I know there are some who believe that through lifting lockdown restrictions politicians in Westminster and Holyrood are very deliberately handing over responsibility – and thus blame – to the public for what comes next. And there may be some truth to this. But come on, let’s get real.

Accusations of “making it up as they go along” are thrown around as if this was an insult rather than simply a fact describing the predicament governments everywhere find themselves in. How could it be otherwise given the extraordinary events of the last six months? And what’s the alternative to us being public health guinea pigs? Staying at home forever?

Community levels of the virus in Scotland are now low and falling. Our hospitals lie empty. We have a test and trace system in place to – hopefully – crack down on infections. Meanwhile, wellbeing continues to suffer under the restrictions and hundreds of thousands of jobs hang in the balance. All of these things mean we can and should lift the lockdown. And lifting restrictions means the vast majority of folk (the shielded and vulnerable aside) must decide for themselves what level of risk they are comfortable contending with, taking into consideration how it might affect their family and community as well as their own personal circumstances.

We can help ourselves along the way. Firstly by staying up to date – through trusted, legitimate scientific and public information sources – about how the virus is transmitted and the best ways to stay safe.

We can also resist the temptation to judge others for their decisions. Frankly, I’m sick of the army of armchair virologists spouting their culture war vitriol on social media. On one side you have those who seem to relish the lockdown, the class swots who shout too loudly about how they follow every part of the guidance (“unlike all those #covidiots who are going to die!”) and seem to revel in the idea of a second wave. On the other side, you have the virus deniers. Both groups peddle fear and misinformation, whether that is their intention or not.

At the end of the day none of us, not even the scientists, know whether and when there will be another wave of the virus. Uncertainty permeates through every part of our lives now, and we must find ways to live with and even embrace this if we are to make it through the tough months ahead. Let’s at least try to respect each other’s different ways of coping, shall we?

All columnists are free to express their opinions. They don’t necessarily represent the view of The Herald.