Well this year’s birthday truly has been the one that answers life’s lesson that life throws you some serious curve balls. Back in February, friends were asking about what plans I’d made for my birthday/Easter. “Nothing big” just a day out with Sunday lunch and a cinema trip. Then the world changed. Almost overnight. What simple pleasures we’d taken for granted – heading to the pub, popping in on friends and family, catching a train to work, all off limits.
Time to re-evaluate. This blog has often provided me with something of a sanity check. A moment to reflect on the luxuries in my life. When I kicked things off in 2014, I had a list of largely frivolous tasks I’d intended ticking off to hit the birthday milestone of 50. I’ve just re-read it for the first time in a few years and realised I didn’t get so far, but that really doesn’t matter. I’m still here! Sondheim’s words are echoing round my brain, alongside a really annoying earworm of Daniel Bedingfield’s (almost) one hit wonder – which, incidentally, I’ve never liked!
Though this anniversary blog isn’t the place to bang on about the disaster around us. We’re all hideously aware of why we’re all stopping put. But it will serve (as my earlier blogs and my little poem do) as a reminder of the reality of a situation that has never felt more unreal.
I’ve had good days and hideous days, dull, monotonous moments. Friends who’ve been here for me and some who are doubtless just getting on with whatever keeps them sane.
A couple of weeks ago, I truly felt a bit friendless, bit of social media overload and shit on my mind. Deary me, what was all that about! It feels like a lifetime ago and pretty self-indulgent, though I’m still experiencing moments of FOMO of a totally different kind. Never before have I realised how few solo entertaining skills I have!!! Friends who craft, knit, paint, bake* …. I quickly realised my main hobby is, put simply, drinking with friends.
So, sticking to what I know, that’s a bit how this isolation is going so far. I’ve barely watched a tv show in weeks and instead I’ve joined mad bingo, sponsored by my old friend Southern Comfort; Isolation Disco – dressing up and dancing round my living room alongside 30k+ total strangers; virtual video chats (making the most of filters to replace the now redundant make-up, left by the mirror and hairdryer that have barely been touched in a month). I never understood ‘Second Life‘, it was a phenomena I couldn’t relate to back in the days of early gaming – the idea of re-inventing a virtual you, but now staying in is the new going out, I’m sort of seeing the appeal and saving a fortune while I’m at it.
Though, when my birthday kicked in and reminded me of the reality that I live alone, I admit to feeling apprehensive about which way my mood would swing. I needn’t have been – flowers in the post, chocolates, cards and gifts at my gate, friends face-timing and jollying me along and the day flew by. Just one big thing missing – not a single, real hug.
Oh yes, that’s what’s missing. Hugs. Big, gripping, smelling the scent of another human being armfuls of chest-crushing, soul-smothering, non-sexual, friendship-fermenting love.
Get queuing up for that post-isolation pint, I’ll be waiting at the pub – it’s a skill I’ve honed to perfection and I’m hoping I’ll have not lost the knack when this is all over.
Now, back to that knicker drawer clear out …