unconfined confinement

You will be much relieved to hear that the only commitment I have made at the start of this New Year is NOT to set any resolutions.

Those of you who know me will know that this really does go against the grain, for I am the person who usually has notebooks full of goals, challenges and lists. I even have a little book by my bedside in which I write down the best places, restaurants, sayings, films as if I am authenticating my engagement. I am the person who likes to round off a year by interrogating friends and family with a barrage of reflective questions: ‘ so what was the highlight of your past year?’ or, ‘what were you most proud of achieving in the last 12 months?’ or, ‘what was your worst moment? …and this is before I take my poor victims through a quick fire round of: ‘best film? best stage show? favourite meal out? best new recipe? best running event? best book?’

Until Covid stopped play, my theory had always been that if you commit something to paper, it will happen. My poor children were subjected to having their New Year resolutions stuck onto the fridge door each January so that they (ok, I) could track progress and tick off: hockey captain, grade A in maths, homework in on time. Tiger Mother? How dare you! I promise that these were my children’s own goals…all I had to contribute was a little editing.

Anyway, until 2020, my system seemed to work.

For obvious reasons, I have not bothered running through my usual stand-up routine this year. I did attempt to, but on top of the general ugsomeness of Covid, Boris gifted me a New Year’s Eve audience of only one and – delightful though he can be – Favourite Man (FM) on this occasion decided that my traditional New Year antics held little merit for our current predicament. He swiftly quoshed my bubble with his worthy response to my first question ie. ‘ my highlight was navigating through the year in good health, with a roof over my head and being fortunate that all my family have been blessed in the same way, now are you going to put that note book away and help me pull the rest of this box of crackers or shall we save them for next year?’

FM was probably right to stop me in full flow, for hardly any of the remaining items on my usual New Year’s Eve audit now tally with any of the few events that valiantly took place in 2020’s Mubble Fubble. Sadly, I can not even post a photo of that elusive sour dough loaf that I kept pledging to cook- and this really hurts me , because even though that loaf failed to materialise during the whole tierfulness of successive lockdowns, I did promise myself on Christmas Day that I would still prove (sorry) myself and sneak this achievement in before the New Year started. I should have written this commitment down.

Between Christmas and New Year I prepped for 2021 by reading advice which told me to list what I am going to give up, rather than what I am going to powerhouse myself to achieve over the next 12 months. At first I quite liked the sound of this for – like you – I have had plenty of time during my snake and ladder rattle through the tier system to decide which bits of my former life I have not missed at all (I will not list these here for risk of offending someone). However, just the phrase ‘giving up’ makes my heart sink after a year of being forced to give things up (quite rightly); I feel the need to open up, not confine myself even more.

I realise that 2021 is not a year to scare myself with though, so if I do start defining my confinement, then I feel no need for any new goals to shock myself out of my ‘comfort’ zone. Not sure about you, but I feel I have been feeding off the neat adrenalin of ripped up plans, revised plans and rejigged revisions since March 2020 and, even if I have taken this white knuckle ride from the comfort of my own sofa, I feel no need to scream that I want to go any faster.

So, I am confining myself to a 2021 Mash Up – more a list of musings than must do’s; a list to allow me to reset and to restpair if 2020 continues its mission creep into 2021:

  • I will film some basic yoga flows for Facebook: this will be a laugh for anyone who attends my classes and wants to watch me wobble on my mat and it will force me to pivot from using blu tac to hold my phone camera in place and actually buy a proper camera stand
  • .I will get some play dates in the diary with my much missed friends. Yes, these may get ripped up and revised, but perhaps Covid is just waiting for us to blag our way out of lockdown by committing to the future. We all need something to look forward to.
  • I will keep adding to my little book of gratitudes for the right reasons (see above) even through lockdown – you can still have best meals, best films, best runs, best walks even when you’re in a Tier 4. It is not a challenge, and it doesn’t need authentication, it is just a great way of reminding yourself of what you are thankful about.
  • I will keep running – it has been the most constant friend through 2020 – you never feel worse for running (unless you fail to tie your laces securely). You can run solo if you have to – but it is so much better when the rules allow you to run with friends.
  • I will keep collaborating. One of the best parts of lockdown has been the way family, friends and colleagues have all shared their strengths and skills so freely. We mustn’t let this stop.
  • I will be kinder to myself. I will aim to check in with myself rather than check up on my progress.
  • Oh, and I may just keep blogging….

Wishing each of you the best 2021 – it is not a competition, I just want it to be better for you than last year. We may be battered and batty, but we are flipping marvellous nonetheless. We can surely muster up enough energy to stubbornly resolve to be unconfined to the extent that our confines will allow – and we can probably do this from our own sofa @stayhome.

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