It was my birthday on Friday – 1st May – and I decided to ignore it this year because of lockdown which was perhaps an odd decision because I’m not struggling with our current scenario. Not really. Okay, I am, but perhaps in a different way to most. For us, not a lot has changed. I’m used to working from home because I’ve been doing it for five years. I’m used to hubby always being around because he works from home too. I’m used to not seeing my family because they’re not local and I’m used to not seeing friends regularly because they’re not local either. I’m also used to working long hours and barely leaving the house. But the hours I’ve worked so far during lockdown have been unprecedented and this is what led to my decision to say to my husband and daughter, ‘No presents, please. Let’s do this later instead’.
I’ve always struggled to find a decent balance between my day job as a distance learning tutor and writing, with the latter always having to take the back seat. During lockdown, the number of assignments and queries coming through has almost doubled as students have decided to use the time to study after being furloughed, losing jobs, or still working but not being able to go out on evenings and weekends. And it’s broken me. I’ve marked one assignment and four have arrived. I’ve marked another one and another three have appeared. It’s been a constant battle to keep on top of my queue. I’ve been mentally drained, unable to sleep, and I’ve barely stepped outside the house, even into the back garden.
In that state of heightened stress, the thought of celebrating my birthday when I couldn’t actually celebrate it properly was a step too far so I declared that I wanted to ignore it. We couldn’t celebrate Mother’s Day either or hubby’s 50th birthday properly (happened days before lockdown, scuppering plans to go away) so we’ll celebrate them all when we’re through the other side instead. Or next year.
There was cake, though. Cake is good. Given that my new book – Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow – available for pre-order now, is all about a hedgehog rescue centre, hubby had hoped to get me a hedgehog cake from the supermarket like this one he bought for his mum’s birthday last year. Unfortunately they’d had a run on celebration cakes and there was very little choice so we had a Thorntons one instead (pictured at the top of this post). Very nice it was too. All gone now. Nom nom.
Wishing all the best to those who’ve missed celebrations due to lockdown so far and to those who’ll miss them going forwards. Good excuse to do it all when we’re though the other side.
And I’m sure anyone who has lost a loved one to this horrible virus or who knows someone fighting it right now would happily trade the rest of their birthday celebrations to have their loved ones safely with them. I know I would. My thoughts are with you.
Stay home, stay safe.