At the beginning of 2020, I wrote a blogpost dubbed “2020 vision” for my blog, Hollyday Golightly. In it, I outline how I aim to treat the highs and lows of the year – “it would be great if we could all have this perfect year – with perfect plans, perfect places and perfect people. That’s 2020 vision, right?” – I write.
Luckily, in some creepy fortune-teller fashion, I’d gone on to dismantle this, explaining that the realitea of this was a little ambitious. But it seems a little ironic now, doesn’t it? Who could have foreseen Mr C knocking on our doors uninvited, blocking our everyday routines and demanding that we adapt a dystopian lifestyle overnight? Certainly not me.
In the midst of job hunting and the need to keep my brain ticking over, I started thinking about how utterly shite the pandemic is. Let’s not sugar-coat it into something it’s not – we’ve lost our freedom, our minds and perhaps even our sense of selves.
“It’s the young people and the old people, that’s who I feel most sorry for,” says my Mum as our waitress, suited and booted in an uncomfortable-looking visor, clears away our plates. In my self-pity I agree, before remembering the middle-agers who are parenting, carers, reapplying to jobs, are too having a tough time showing a brave face for close ones.
Young people? God, my stomach flips when I remember how “your twenties are the best years of your life”. Thinking of how University, with all its highs, can have some lonely moments in those blocks of flats and how no-one prepares you for that – and that’s without a pandemic. Imagine being cooped up with a bunch of strangers, with laggy WIFI, limited food supplies and a room the size of a toenail which you can’t leave because you’ll be blamed for creating, spreading and breeding the virus.
Then there’s those that find the thought of University itself suffocating. We’ve preached for years to “go find yourself” on Bali’s beaches with a bucket of bleach for the tongue’s tipple, but now this freedom has been altogether stripped away from travellers, who can instead *perhaps* enjoy a week away with the possibility of quarantine on return. Not quite the equivalent, is it?
We’ve been promised that the world is our oyster, that no dream is too small and, whilst one day we are assured this will be the case once more, the rhetoric has hit pause. Out sprouts a new logic – “get a job, earn some money, adapt to a new climate” – and with it comes pressure to progress, to impress – which can only lead to success. But how does one measure this?
Then I think of my Grandparents, how they’ve worked to live all their lives. Do they choose to live now or to live in fear of something which is somewhat out of their hands? Their words ring through my head, “it was easier back then.” When was back then?
But then I think about my 20:20 vision at the start of the year. “2020 for me is not about a perfect vision. It’s about balance, perspective and hindsight. About finding the silver lining in every hurdle I face.“
Silver linings of lockdown? Reaching my 10K-run goal with Dad on Sundays; celebrating this with triple chocolate crunch cereal, coffee and avocado bagels; growing a young womxn’s community and speaking to inspiring women; getting a tan (in ENGLAND!); reuniting with my boyfriend after four long months; caring for plant babies; my brother and his fiancée getting engaged!!!; packaging up The Happy News and notes for friends; crying, laughing and learning with Mum; Banagrams on Fridays; rekindling old friendships with home friends; transforming my bedroom into a sanctuary; Zooming with old housemates in crazy hats; catching the sunrise at 6am with my best friend; opening the oven to exploding Pasteis de Nata; watching my dog bask in sunlight on Autumn days.
It’s easy to compare yourself to where you were a year ago; to feel unaccomplished when Wendy secures her new job and posts about it on Linked In; to feel as though the world is spinning when you are stood static. But we don’t have to all find a new skill or love our living arrangements. I think it’s perfectly acceptable to turn to an amigo every now and then and say, “god, this is shit”, before pouring another vino and reminscing this week’s fiasco.
Spill the Tea has always been a safe space to speak the unspoken, so if we’re laying our cards on the table, I think it’s time I share my lockdown realitea. It may be a little different in style, but why not? As I chug along on the job slog, I’ll be spilling the tea on a weekly basis to keep the communitea hydrated and instilling us all with some positivitea.
Consider it a mini-series… Make sure to hop onboard our communitea, follow our Instagram and follow our website for endless tea, coming in piping hot. As ever, if you have a story to share please get in touch.