Woman at balcony window

What a difference a year makes

It is customary in January to look back over the previous year and consider the high and lows and the ways our world has changed. There is no doubt that there have been plenty of lows, some highs and more change than any of us could have predicted. Looming back at this time last year it is strange to remember that I had not heard of the new Coronovirus that was going to come to dominate all our lives. Yes, I had seen a report hidden away on the World News pages about a virus in China, but it seemed remote and unimportant. It didn’t even rate a proper headline.

This time last year I had a boyfriend and a seemingly thriving business. Whilst I can’t blame Covid for the breakup of my relationship (that would have happened anyway), it can take the blame for the imminent loss of my business. I will be the first to admit that we weren’t exactly making a fortune, the gallery was doing quite nicely. That is until the various lockdowns and restrictions hit. Now I face a very different kind of future. Don’t get me wrong, I am fine financially, at least for now, but it is difficult coming to terms with these drastic changes. It might have been easier if either of my daughters were still at home, but they have their own lives (one in Manchester, the other in Edinburgh) and I am happy for them.

So now I find myself at something of a crossroads. I am resigned to the fact that my business will not reopen so I need to find something else. I am not sure I am cut out for the role of an independent business woman. I thought I was but the past few years have taught me that I am not tough enough really. My skills are limited but I am sure I will find something, once things get back to normal. If they ever do.

I have also found it tough being single and living alone during the pandemic. When this whole thing started I was in a relationship. We enjoyed each other’s company well enough when we had our own interests to pursue. But being closeted in together during last spring’s first lockdown, the strain began to show. Looking back our separation had become inevitable, even before we found ourselves shut inside together 24/7. We are still friends but anything more than that is out of the question. So here I am, on my own for the first time in my life.

In some ways it has been pleasant having time to myself. It has taken a while to get used to it but at the moment I am happy with it. I do really miss going to the theatre and visiting galleries and other events, but at least technology allows us to keep in contact with our loved ones. I regularly video chat with my two roving daughters and have enjoyed many a virtual girls night in with friends. The downside is that I am sure I drink far more wine on these video chats that I did when we gathered face to face. But at least I don’t have to hunt down a taxi and brave the chilly winter rain at the end of the evening.

I think that it is important now that we all look forwarded with a positive attitude. At this time last year we could never have foreseen what was to come. Maybe that in itself is a lesson to us all. We can not afford to be complacent about anything. One never knows what the future will bring and as we have seen, the unthinkable can become only too real in the blink of an eye.

I think I have rambled on enough for a Sunday morning so I will take my leave now. If anyone is reading this – and I hope someone is – take care of yourself, keep safe, and be sure to think positive thoughts.

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