We’re all spending way too much time scrolling on our phones at the moment right? I am most definitely guilty of that – those iPhone screen time notifications can definitely get dismissed. Actually, I saw something which described 2020 as ‘January, February, Coronavirus, December.’ That’s pretty scarily accurate isn’t it.

Time and timing is key at the moment. Well, that and social distancing. We’re all spending days, weeks and months but hopefully not years wishing the time away. In addition, we’re all waiting for BoJo and his gang to announce the end of lockdown so we can do stuff a little more freely again too.

That’s not something any of us expected to do when Big Ben chimed a new year a few months back. I definitely didn’t predict wishing away the time in my 37th year. But we’re all doing it nonetheless and it’s not something which we should feel guilty about, either.

It’s only because we want our lives back. We’re all craving normality. From the big things like working in an office and our kids going to school to the little things like popping to the supermarket to pick up one thing or calling in for a cuppa (OK, wine) with a mate.

But even in these crazy times, life is still happening and time still plays a vital part in all that.

Looking at things differently

Perspective is everything. I have spent a huge amount of time thinking, overthinking and dissecting to the point of ridiculous everything which has happened in my life to bring me to this day, time and situation. One of the main features of that is – of course – my marriage. What I did wrong, what he did wrong, what wasn’t wrong but just didn’t work between the two of us – the list could go on and on.

Happily, all of that has definitely taken a back seat lately. I don’t know why but it just doesn’t really bother me anymore. Actually, I feel like I have unfucked myself and I am back to being who I should be more so than, maybe, ever. All that shit is now in the past and I can’t change it so I won’t let it damage my future.

So maybe 2020 has given me the time and opportunity to get things in perspective. That definitely helps to place the past exactly where it belongs. In this case, time is a great healer.

Partnerships

That failed marriage expanded over more than a decade of my life. Yes, we got engaged very quickly but it took a much longer time to actually tie the knot – a few years, actually. Even then, looking back, I did it for the wrong reasons. The fairy tale dream we’re so often peddled has a lot of answer for.

So, when no one is getting any younger, is there any point in potentially wasting any more time? I don’t think so.

It’s one of the reasons that big plans are being made for next year with the most wonderful human I have met in a very long time. We spend the time we can have together (obviously in short supply at the moment) laughing, smiling, feeling at ease and generally having a lovely time. So, why not make that happen on a more regular basis when possible? Does time  – specifically how much time has passed since our first date – really matter?

We’ve both been through the relationship mill before so we’re not rushing into stuff  – we just know what we want. That’s where time becomes incidental, I think. Well, aside from wishing time away a little so that excitement for the future can be realised. Seize the day – and buy the house – is a great mantra for what may be to come.

Late 30’s

Most, if not all of us, who are in our 30’s are probably OK with it. It sometimes smarts – like when a new batch of wrinkles sets up camp on your face. But many of the terrible clichés are true – your 30’s are better than your 20’s. You know yourself better, you have more confidence in yourself and you have maybe gone through some life stages to have got a slightly nicer job, place to live, favourite pub etc.

But I didn’t really enjoy turning 37 in February. I always approach birthdays with the same mentality – what have I achieved and what do I have to show for my life so far? 37 was OK in most respects for that, actually. Those grey hairs can still fuck all the way off though. The looming nature of 40 can also do one – in all of the ways that Sally makes so clear to Harry.

But it can feel like time is running out. Things have to change at some point – Peter Pan syndrome can’t last forever … can it? Or maybe a childish approach to life can be a good thing – laughing at dick jokes is a great way of doing so, in my opinion. Growing up doesn’t have to mean growing boring. So even as the time ticks away, we can still enjoy the, ahem, ride.

2020 – the year that almost was.

So, are we really being robbed of time in 2020? Or, are we just spending that time in unexpected yet still positively unforgettable ways? That new normal is often banded around at the moment but there’s some comforting truth in it too.

I didn’t expect to spend so much of this year within a couple of miles of my own front door. Yet, those daily walks have helped me to discover places in the village I live in – and grew up in – which I never knew existed. There’s beautiful countryside just moments away and I am amazed by it. OK, it’s probably because I spent more of my time here as a teenager trying to get served in the village pubs (sorry dad). But it’s still brought a new dimension to my life and the place I intend to call home for many years to come, which can only be a good thing.

Days spent social distancing from much-missed family and friends seem to carry with them a magic which must have been previously taken for granted. There’s huge gaps in those occasions – two metre gaps to be precise. But even then they feel sweeter and more special than maybe they would have done before.

I have realised how much I love my job after being furloughed for nearly two months. Even though I cursed early mornings to get to the office in the darkness of winter (and I am sure I will do again), I miss the routine that afforded me and the luxury of doing something which uses my skills. So I hope I get to go back soon – and I am sure many of us feel the same.

Times will change again

We will all look back on this time for years to come and remember how we got through it. In truth, I know that I haven’t been perfect. As a human, I relish certainty and familiarity in life and therefore I, like many, have struggled to cope with that being thrown out of the window.

I have let that stress come out in ways that I am not proud of, such as yelling at TJ when I shouldn’t have, drinking a lot of wine, being oversensitive and crying more than usual. But I have also learnt lessons from that too – and hopefully, like us all, we will come out of all of this stronger in many ways. For example, I have also been proud of myself and TJ as we have done some basic homeschooling together. I never thought I would feel a surge of pride for someone writing a number 8 correctly. Surely that will help when he dons his first school uniform in September (wtf).

So, 2020 – you have been a little shitty shitbag so far – and I am acutely aware many of us have felt it way worse than I have. Let’s hope the months ahead also heal us – physically, mentally, medically, culturally and socially. Mainly because I can’t wait to get back to my favourite pub, which is incidentally one which I unsuccessfully tried to buy a Barcardi Breezer in when I was 17.