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Fun, fit and living alone during lockdown 2.0

Here we go again. After sharing my negative thoughts during the first lockdown, I thought now was a good time to reflect on my feelings as we live through the second. Stay at home, they said, the message not changed in eight months. I had, along with everyone else, taken advantage of the brief respite. Now as a vulnerable person of a certain age I was again faced with a similar routine as the first time around.

The warning signs had stacked up against us; I was mentally prepared and determined I would cope. Each week throughout the pandemic I have completed an online COVID survey. Having thought about my selection of answers I can say my choices haven't changed during this period. The current outcome is positive as opposed to six months previous. My mindset has changed from “what I shall I do today” to “what I am doing today”. I have plans, and I am sticking to them, I have projects to complete.

Although some of my activities and volunteering have temporarily been put on hold, others are online (although I am not comfortable with it). Buying a new bed in July has developed into a complete revamp of my bedroom and mid-way through another lockdown I am still decorating! But my diary is no longer blank; it has entries for deliveries and things to do, no solitary life this time.

I haven’t panicked; the shop shelves will still be stacked with gifts and festive fayre on 3rd December. Although the demand for mince pies seems to be greater than the demand for toilet rolls!! Shopping is no longer the hazard I experienced in April and May, the aisles still do have indecisive shoppers but I am an expert in avoiding them. Forgetting my PIN number when the supermarket checkout decided to do a security check was one of those moments when I was happy to admit the grey matter had let me down and I was elderly.

We are being told to go out for exercise but it would be easy when the weather is inclement to turn my back on the door and hug the sofa. However, the pavements are no longer lonely places. There are children coming out of school, shoppers or fellow walkers, all prepared to say hello. With the days getting shorter the gardens have lost their summer colours and the trees now bare. Another array of colour in the form of animated Christmas decorations are filling front gardens, along with inflated Father Christmases abseiling roof tops.My challenge each day is to spot the new displays.

Each year the laborious task of writing Christmas cards and the annual generic letter is a job I am glad when it’s done. This year more than ever I have time for a personal message inside each card as I remember friends in far-off places, the workers who have cared and supported us, and families whose lives have changed. The last posting dates will not creep up on me so fast this year; I will not complain if I hear "I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” for the umpteenth time.

Support bubbles are limited and although my loved ones are only a text or FaceTime away, I look forward to the day when I can hug my granddaughter again in the loving way only a Nanna can do. As a singleton I have formed a support bubble with a very close friend, we spend time together sharing laughter, leaning on each other for support. My garden is still my sanctuary, with the Robin watching on whilst I plant spring bulbs and sweep up leaves. I can reflect in solitude, think of my renewed friendships, the sad times we have been through this year, the lives of families who through uncontrollable circumstances have changed forever. My bank statement entries are missing the regular fashion buys - why would I want new clothes when I can't go anywhere? My sandals, summer trainers and shorts are now packed away, replaced by winter boots, leggings, an oversized sweater and a new fashion item; an obligatory face covering! It’s a logistical problem as to what to put on my ears first, earrings, face covering, glasses or hearing aids. More often than not, I result in the face covering only, so I am in oblivion to the world around me.

2020 will be remembered as the year our lives were turned around. As we look towards the festive season, I am not concerned if I haven’t a party dress to wear. I will do ‘home alone’ if it means another family doesn’t have sadness.

I am near the top of the pecking order for the vaccine. So at the strike of midnight on December 31st I will have found my glam wear and those stiletto heels. I will be dancing in the streets as the usual revellers watch on from their windows. Being an oldie has always been hard for me to digest, but this time I am so pleased to admit I am one!!

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