Don’t mind me asking… but have you made any New Year Resolutions for 2021? No? Me neither. Last year’s resolutions – oh you know, the usual stuff about eating more healthily, exercising regularly, learning a new skill, all sadly foundered on the twin rocks of the coronavirus pandemic and (just who do I think am I kidding here?) my chronic laziness. So, zero resolutions for me this year. Unless you count the barely acknowledged one about shortly moving to a new home with the marriage still intact and the cat safely imprisoned, if furious, in his cat basket. I will let you know how that goes.
Planning anything in 2020 from a run of the mill shopping trip to a longed-for staycation soon required the expertise of an army logistics officer twinned with a fortune teller. Put simply, living sanely from one week to the next (or should that be from one tier to the next?) soon became an achievement in itself. But despite all of that I am determined to look ahead with as much positivity as I can muster.
And so here is my list of things I will look forward to, things I dare hope for and things I will gladly say a heartfelt goodbye to in 2021.
A vaccination. I never thought I would ever look forward to having a needle jabbed into my arm but bring it on I say and the sooner the better. Despite dutifully queuing for my flu vaccination each year, I never once skipped along to the surgery with a feeling of light-headed gratitude towards the clever boffins who had made it possible for me to avoid the worst of seasonal flu. But the dreaded coronavirus? Now that has made me realise how much I owe to the unstinting work and the sheer brilliance of others. Suddenly my gratitude and admiration know no bounds and truly it will be a wonderful day when I can roll up my sleeve and gratefully have the new vaccine.
Getting dressed up and going somewhere fabulous just because I can. Like out for a completely scrumptious, champagne afternoon tea, or a totally indulgent spa-day or for a totally non-essential shopping trip with the girls.
Or calling at a friend’s house and (whisper it) stepping inside for coffee without at least one of us panicking in case we are sinning against the latest Covid laws. By the way, is sharing a plate of freshly baked scones against the law now, too? Sometimes it is the simplest pleasures we miss the most and look forward to having restored to us. The sooner the better.
In fact, going anywhere so long as it is not schlepping around my local supermarket whilst wearing a mask and then only after disinfecting my poor hands yet again with more cheap alcohol gel. Yes, my hands have taken on the surface feel of rough sandpaper and need gallons of quality hand cream just to keep them from cracking up completely. In fact I am looking forward to smelling of something expensive and exquisite again instead of hand sanitiser and trolley cleaning spray.
Remembering them is a pain, too. (Sorry, but I’m still banging on about face masks.) I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to trudge back to the car to find a suitable mask or a scarf to do the trick. And they make my specs steam up and my nose run. Not a good look. And don’t get me started on mask-breath. I look forward to the day when I can dump the whole lot of them in the nearest bin and smile happily, barefaced except for my brightest lipstick, at the world again.
But most of all I’m looking forward to hugging people again. Joyously greeting a friend or relative without either of us worrying about inadvertently murdering the other one. That really cannot come soon enough. The sheer innocent pleasure of a simple hug, a touch on the arm or a squeeze of the hand. All life affirming, understated forms of everyday human contact which all mean so much more than an hour on any Zoom or Teams call made whilst battling with the camera and the mute button ever can.
I look forward to socially distancing myself from one thing only – the fridge, which has seen rather too much of me during these past few months. My conclusion may be a little tongue in cheek; but only a little for, if you remember, that well known modern-day philosopher Baloo the Bear wisely told Mowgli to, “Look for the bare necessities, the simple bare necessities of life.” And do you know something? He was absolutely right!