Lockdown Birthday

Another year older. I look back and grieve for the things that never were. For the plans made and lost. I look forward and fear to dream. We don’t know what the future holds and I don’t dare to hope for my normal to return.

It’s a birthday in lockdown. A quiet day celebrated with my household. Phone calls and messages with friends I can not touch. Presents arrive in brown cardboard instead of wrapping paper. 

I am calm and content and yet… birthdays make me reflective.

A birthday tea party with cake stand and champagne, children holding drinks up to the camera and blue balloons

There is so much I want to do, to achieve, but I doubt my ability. I lack time, I lack confidence, I don’t even know if the ideas I have for work will be needed in the new world.

I look in the mirror and see how my skin has aged. The texture has changed, it drags in places where before it held firm. The shape of my body isn’t what it once was. The increased alcohol and chocolate intake through lockdown will hopefully have a temporary impact, but my body shape has changed through multiple pregnancies and time. 

Getting older, just a step a way from 40 and I am looking back on my life so far. It is so easy to feel I have achieved nothing, that I have wasted so much time. I have had great jobs I loved and lost them, mostly due to being too trusting and believing in honesty and openness, but would I choose to do things differently? Is it better to always be guarded and put a spin on your life to others? That’s not who I am. At times I say nothing, but when I talk I share all, I want people to know the truth.

I am divorced, I don’t own my own home and I have no proper job. On paper that hardly spells success does it? But I have 3 children, I have a good relationship with a man who I love and who loves me, I have a roof over my head, I earn some income through two of the things I love most: writing and photography. I am lucky.

I don’t always feel lucky though. I know the pandemic rages on and deaths continue directly and indirectly from COVID 19. The ongoing isolation and recession affects people’s mental health. We all are finding it hard. I worry about if I will ever see my family again. Family and friends all fight their own private battles of loss. There is so much people are missing out on. 

Birthdays are a time to celebrate and celebrate I do, but the excitement of another year is tempered by worry over what the year will hold. I had such hope and expectation for 2020 and now making any plans for the future feels foolish.

I count my blessings here and now. I have more than many and for that I am grateful. There are simple things I will enjoy today that others can’t, a hug, nice food, company. We had a party yesterday, safe at home, surrounded by love and smiles.

I am 38 and I am trying to be brave enough to hope for a good year.

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