January is often a time of fresh beginnings, indulging in hopes or dreams for the coming months and for embarking on the new year with a general spirit of optimism. However, this is a year like no other. I mean, the same could also be said of last year, which then technically renders that statement untrue. Nevertheless, this is not your typical January.
Many people have found much to be happy and productive about during the last few difficult months. I’m pleased for them. Really, I am. Some of my friends have loved having this extra time time with their families, thrived during homeschooling, developed new hobbies and some writerly friends have made much headway with their ongoing works in progress. I haven’t. I have not made sourdough. I have not baked banana bread. I have not written a novel. I have not mastered the violin. I have not even completed a full week of Joe Wicks (although given his injury at the time of writing perhaps even he is bored of it and resorting to the old ‘pulled a muscle’ trick to get out of school PE).
But I have worked. Being a key worker (it’s not a noble calling, it’s just that my job is essential and cannot be effectively done from home) means that I have spent this pandemic in an endless cycle of juggling working on site (stressful and potentially compromising to my health), parenting (in new circumstances so not always brilliantly), home-schooling (ditto) and generally trying to get through the madness (ditto). It hasn’t left much time for lofty goals and big ambitions.
But I’ve managed a couple of things. Recently I found a list of household jobs I optimistically wrote last January (ha!) and whilst many of them still remain on the list, I did a few. Changed a light fitting, replastered a ceiling. Upholstered two chairs, painted a bench. I didn’t write a novel but I did write a couple of short stories. And you know what? I’m okay with it.
Our world is currently very small. We can’t go anywhere, or do anything. We’re confined to a very small space and it’s okay if our dreams and ambitions are quite small too. I can’t do anything about all the big things right now so I’m finding ways to be okay with the small ones. Taking a walk, making a (tentative) bit of progress with the laundry pile, dancing round the house to some 90s grunge. They’re very small pleasures, but right now, I’ll take them.