It was my birthday yesterday.
It was a weird day, as you might expect. I spent most of it watching films, with the occasional bout of reading, maybe a bit of writing, and otherwise at home, barring a run I persuaded myself to go for. Presents and cake in the evening, of course, which were as enjoyable as ever. And I refused to feel sad on my birthday. There was nothing to be done about the fact that I couldn’t see my friends, and other people have it far worse, so I did my best to count my blessings and ignore the things that were missing.
But in my more self-indulgent moments, I do feel sad about not seeing my girlfriend or my friends on my birthday. And although I know I’ll see them again in that mysterious Afterwards that we all hope for, to drink and make merry, it won’t be the same. But I’ll have other birthdays (I hope), and far more important ones than my 20th.
On that note, we do all seem to be waiting for Afterwards. The resumption of normality, as much as it can grate at times, is a far more pleasant prospect than each day sliding smoothly into the next. It’s difficult to think that it is almost 2 weeks in to the declaration of lockdown, and that we have so much longer to go. If we follow the same pattern as China (assuming they’re telling the truth about the end of the outbreak), then this could be the situation until early summer, which I don’t like to think about, to be honest.
I’m not likely to run out of things to do; my degree is still a going concern, as is this thing, while the media societies I’m a part of aren’t going anywhere, and neither are the books and boxsets I have stockpiled. But being away from people outside of my family for this length of time isn’t something I’m looking forward to. Don’t misunderstand me, I love my family, and all things considered I’m lucky to have them. But if I don’t have anyone else to speak to or spend time with, I may go insane. It’s lucky I can video call people to get to see them and talk to them. Things could be worse. That’s always important to remember.
That being said, Afterwards remains elusive, and thereby all the more desired. We don’t know exactly when it’ll come. But it must come. It will come. Coronavirus cannot defeat that old Persian adage, no matter how resilient or difficult to detect it is; ‘This too shall pass’, although that’s little comfort when we don’t know when that will happen. What also worries me is that people will lose patience, and end this restriction of their own accord. I was concerned by the news today that car journeys have increased, a possible sign of complacency when we need to be determined. If we don’t do that, this will not end for many more months than it would otherwise, and the consequences will leave thousands upon thousands of families grief-stricken. This seems obvious to me, and I hope to you too, but there there are those who might think ‘well I’m ok, I’m going for a picnic with the grandparents‘, with awful consequences. So please, don’t be those people. Personal request from me. Everyone stays home, people stay healthy, we get to Afterwards that bit sooner.
This week has been, well, ‘ok’. Most things at the moment are ‘ok’, barring the occasional trips to the shops, which are clouded by the stress of trying to navigate a town and then the supermarket while keeping two metres away from whoever is around you, and making every effort not to touch anything unnecessarily or (God forbid) your face. Having been complaining about being kept at home, I’m not actually sure whether leaving the house is worse, to be quite honest. But otherwise, I’ve mainly been doing what I have been since the start of lockdown: working on essay research, writing my blog, and running some more, peppered with various books and TV shows, plus social media – I actually commented on a political Crushampton post today, to give you an idea of how far I have fallen.
That we’re almost halfway through the Easter break is a strange feeling. We’re halfway through the break, then we ‘start uni again’ without going to uni. That’s going to be weird, and probably going to feel worse than things did during the break. The prospect of having uni work to do sans my uni friends, nights out, overpriced coffees and all the other trappings of student life doesn’t exactly fill me with joy. But I have my family and I have my home. If these things got me through two decades of life, then I’m willing to bet they’ll get me through this.