And then everything changed

The last time I posted on this blog was in February 2020. Remember then? Oh yes. Before the world stopped turning. When life as we knew it ended. BACK IN THE GOOD OLD DAYS.

I know we’ll all look back on this year in times future and have various memories that stand out in what has been one of the most turbulent periods we’ve faced in modern history. I hope it’s remembered for the positive though as well as the negative. There has been a lot of positive. For me anyway. I hope it’s been the same for you.

The shock and speed of the pandemic as it swept through Europe and went from Italy – the epicentre for so long, and then landed with us, was probably the worst of it all. The strict lock down – the anxiety of taking our children out of school, watching shops close, supermarkets become gauntlets of fear and the sudden loss of income, routine and normality as well as the real worry around loved ones losing their lives – well it was all a lot to take, wasn’t it?!

We have settled down now. But everything has changed.

Lockdown in Ireland happened approximately 36 hours before the launch of my third novel Adele. Like the book itself I’d put great effort into the launch – I had young dancers booked who would provide a tap dancing backdrop to our 20s themed signing.

Oh the folly. Can you imagine even thinking about organising something like that now!? Lockdown and the loss of the launch was a bit gut-wrenching and for a good three weeks or so I wandered around the house, unable to focus on much and feeling all a bit meh. Had the past two years been a waste of time? Would my words ever make it out to the world? Did I even care?!

One of the greatest changes I’ve experienced this summer is learning to let things go and accept whatever happens. It was a hard kernel of a lesson but I think it has helped in a general outlook on life. The generations who have accepted change most are probably our children and the elderly, who saw their freedoms utterly stripped away. My children accept many things as gone now; cinemas, playdates, restaurants and cafes, play centres, playgrounds – weeks without going outside the front of our house even lest we encourage some sort of illegal community playing.  They were told – give up all fun, now. At least us adults could drink wine. And we gave that a good stab too, I can tell you.

We’re still at the stage where I use ‘the virus’ as an excuse to avoid things I don’t want to do. We have barely been back to playgrounds. Not because they aren’t open; more because Mammy hates standing around trying to get two Tazmanian devils to stop licking the monkey bars and pawing other children.

They take things for granted now. They totally accept that lots of things are still not open and that nothing is as it was before. Sometimes, it really makes me sad. Often it’s worse, when they accept it with a quiet shrug and an ‘oh well’.

What else have I avoided due to Covid-19?

Tight clothes. Yuk. I now have an extended range of comfy PJs and baggy pants that may or may not be pajamas. I wear them outside the house and everything.

Putting on lipstick and make-up. Because… masks.

People. Because… masks.

The pubs. I wouldn’t mind an old knees up though. You know yourself. I’d love a boogie too. Where other people are. Not by myself and the turned up ipad, because it’s just. never. loud enough.

Travelling. Anywhere, except our little few days in Wexford, which were lovely.

The hairdressers. Not by choice. Things got so bad in that department that I had to have my hair shorn off (illegally) like a rescue dog with mange.  I didn’t have mange, but I did have hair extensions and who knew that when you tore them out at the root, you SEVERELY damaged your hair. Not I m’lord!

Here are all the positives though and there have been so many.

  1. Time. Lots of extra time to chill out, relax and think. It was like the whole world pressed pause (those working outside of healthcare and other related industries obviously).
  2. Our beautiful houses. Most of us I’m sure made some attempt at a bit of DIY and home improvement and in this house I went and am still going mad doing up bits here there and everywhere. It if didn’t move it got a lick of paint (a giant tub of white ceiling paint btw, whether it was wood, outside walls or floorboards, but still it did the job) a vinyl sticker or at least a clean. It was all very therapeutic to be honest.
  3. Exploring some new creations. I took lots of courses in literature, podcasting, script writing – honing in on things I thought might interest me. I learned a lot and it was nice to be able to study again. There are so many online resources out there now.
  4. New opportunities – I was named Meath Writer in Residence for 2020, something I probably would not have applied for had I been in my normal working routine.
  5. No colds or infections. And I don’t mean Covid – I mean the general minor illnesses we all suffer as we swirl about in everybody’s droplets out there!
  6. Shaking hands. I don’t really like shaking hands any more than I like touching doorknobs or the poles on buses (EUGH) so elbow bumps should totally be the new handshakes, froever yes?
  7. All of online events. No more Only if you live in Dublin need apply.
  8. Working out what really matters. Home, family, friends, and of course; health.

None of this is to make light of the suffering that many have endured. All the big life moments – births, weddings, deaths – the big momentous occasions were affected beyond what we thought might ever have been allowed in this little democracy of ours.

My hubby has had all of his income wiped out, mostly overnight. Even when he rebooked things for further in the year, it was hard to watch it all slip away again. That has been hard, most of all on him. We are thankful of the Government’s support and feel lucky to live in a country where they moved quickly to help all those put out of work.

What have you learned to let go? What have you been living without that you realised you never needed? And what the hell do we all do now the moratorium on mortgages is over?!

I have yet to go back to Penny’s. I love you hun, but I’ve extracted approximately 79 black bags of shite from this little semi-d over the past five months and I don’t want to bring any more back in.

Though I will go back for the pajamas. The ones I have are worn bare.

If you’re interested in some of the output over the past few months you can:

Purchase Adele here.

Look back on a YouTube interview with Writer’s Block here.

Book one of the free events I have coming up as Meath Writer in Residence here.

Get a copy of the Nanny at Number 43 audio book here.

On with book 4. I have a deadline and I have a story and I need to get it all down because I have a lot of alcohol I would like to drink and Call the Midwife seven series to get through. Life. Goals.

December Girl is now available on Audio. Visit Amazon or Audible or click on the cover below to download.

December Girl audiobook

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