Here we are a that time of the year when nothing makes sense. That bit between Christmas and New Year where time seems to disappear and the days of the week mean nothing. You don’t even have to be on holiday (or, this year, furlough) for the whole week not to make sense. It just goes awry. When you say to yourself ‘I thought it was Saturday but the buses are on a Sunday service.’ Or when you think it’s a Monday and you attempt to walk into the pharmacy only to crash into a locked door. Some kind soul might tell you it’s a bank holiday, chances are they’ll be as confused as you are.
It doesn’t help that Christmas Day was a Friday this year. I’ve picked up a Christmas tradition over the last few years. I watch a programme that I don’t watch at any other time of year. I watch the Call The Midwife Christmas special. It’s on in the evening on Christmas Day and it’s a nice way to round off the day, lovely story, few tears from the characters. The nation gasped when Sister Monica Joan, in an effort to straighten the decorations, climbed the ladder with her lace untied. Relief when she didn’t fall. Moments later though, she went arse over tit on the stairs and it looked bleak. In true Christmas special spirit though, she was able to return to Nonnatus House in time for Christmas Day where she delighted in hearing the children giggle and in watching everyone have fun.
I digress. Call The Midwife is a Sunday evening programme. Naturally, watching it on Christmas night threw everything right off for me. It’s completely confused me since. I assumed that because the show had been on then it must be Sunday night and nothing has changed my mind since. I am completely confused. I have to check my phone to see what day it is, often surprised when it’s not what I think it is.
It’s nearly the end of 2020, something that many people have wanted since around March time. Although people are quick to point out that the end of the year doesn’t mean the end of the pandemic, it’s a marker for many people who just want to see this year gone. There’s hope in 2021, especially now with the vaccines being available. There’s desire to see this year gone because 2021 is a year of hope. People who had to put off their weddings are closer to finally getting married. Families will hopefully be able to gather again, not just for Christmas. I’m sure once COVID-19 ebbs away there will be many a family gathering.
It’s irksome when I read on social media people getting on at others because they want to go and meet friends in a pub. A pint in the pub is sometimes the only chance some people get to actually talk to another person. It doesn’t have to be with friends, a natter with the bar tender can often be enough. Sitting reading the paper while you hear the world around you is often enough. This isolation has been going on since March. Nine months. It’s affecting everyone. It doesn’t have to be a major disruption to their lives. The gym being shut is huge. Many people rely on working out physically to help them mentally. Other people won’t care that the gym is shut. The libraries have been shut since March. I am (was) an avid library goer. The fact that they have been shut for nine months won’t bother a lot of others, but it bothers me, it bothers the many elderly people around here who relied on our local library to supply them with books, the librarians helping them to order books from other libraries so they would never run out of something to read. There’s a guy that used our library every day that it was open to check his emails, read through the news, work on job applications, lots of things you need the internet for, he couldn’t afford it in his house, the library was his perfect solution. Gone.
I could go on about all the ways different closures have affected people, the list is endless. That’s why it’s important to look after your own mental health, and, if you can, other people too. There is next to no local support at the moment for anyone with mental health issues. If someone writes on their Facebook page that they hope the pub is open soon, don’t assume it’s because they want to get rat-arsed. It might just be that they haven’t spoken to anyone in a while.
Being kinder is a great way to start a new year. It’s been a terrible year, people dying of something that wasn’t even a thing a year ago, job losses, hospitality basically closed, local services all but gone. We’re all knackered, we really are. The nation is exhausted.
It’s not that 2021 will be the most wonderful year ever, it won’t be, but it will be better. Supporting each other is the only way we’ll get back on top. There are so many ways to help each other that cost nothing.
To close. As Sister Monica Joan reminds us, please make sure your laces are tied before you negotiate the stairs.
Stay warm, stay safe.
Happy New Year