Forced Change and New Year’s Wishes

Photo by Trey Ratcliff

My mind is foggy. I finally found the time to unravel my thoughts here at the computer, where the rhythm of the keyboard helps me think.

Home-learning started again today. I put the edits for my next book aside and helped our 8 year old with his lessons. Tomorrow, our 11 year old’s home-learning starts, and we’ve decided to keep our 4 year old home from nursery for now.

It’s hard but I’m so grateful. I’m grieving for this hurting world. I’m in awe of our doctors and teachers, and angry at the government. I’m worried for family and excited at the thought of our first hugs. At the thought of live music and theatre, and opening our home to loved ones again. A cauldron of emotions. I wonder how everyone else is processing this time: if they’re numb or feeling every atom, or something in between. 

No other year has been like this in my lifetime. 

The pandemic brought the usual ebb and flow of humankind to a shuddering standstill. As if mother nature or a sleeping god had awakened and commanded us to realign our priorities. Like a whispered warning that became an avalanche. Almost biblical in its power. It took me months to even process the magnitude of what had happened.

How arrogant we are in the West. So secure in the knowledge of our prowess, in the enjoyment of freedom and peace. How unaccustomed we are of having to change our lives. 

A year of waiting and hiding away, keeping on as best we could in our little sphere, while others did the hard work in a more dangerous world. Waiting is hard, isn’t it? The second-guessing, the consumption of information, the night-time forays into tarot cards because we need answers. Not as hard as putting your body on the line to help others, not as hard as fighting this disease and not as hard as grieving a loved one.

Sometimes, the only way to keep sane is to count our blessings. 

Photo by Hartwig HKD

I’d hoped like everyone else that 2021 would be a fresh start. An arbitrary date that would mean we’d turned a corner. But here in the UK we’re still in the thick of it.  That unfolding into a new year–refreshed, with a string of resolutions–can’t happen this year. We’re all exhausted from the mental and physical trials of the pandemic year. 

I yearn for normality but the sands have shifted. Even if we could go back to the old ways of being, I don’t think we should. This is a portal. An opportunity to create a kinder world.

It’s the once small things that will matter the most this year: staying afloat, being kind, taking care of our mental health, going for walks, keeping abreast of the news but not being submerged by it, finding moments of joy.

The big dreams I have on my blueprint for this year might take longer to achieve. And that’s okay. We shouldn’t set ourselves up to fail. Setting a direction is good. Taking small steps is good. Sometimes, taking life one day at a time is all we can do.

Hang in there if you’re struggling. Keep swimming. Reach out to me or someone you trust. We have hope. We have science and the vaccines. We have new appreciation for what matters. Hopefully, we have a vision of the kinder world we want to create. I can toast to that.

Happy new year,



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