Three days ago, I was putting the finishing touches to a post about Christmas party dresses, of all things. To my shame, I was bemoaning the limited choice of dresses for middle-aged women who aren’t a size 8, don’t have legs as long as a giraffe, and who may not feel comfortable flashing their arse cheeks to their boss at their office Christmas party.
Three days ago, I felt almost completely removed from the impact of the coronavirus as I sat drinking coffee with two close friends in a beach cafe in our suburb, chatting excitedly about our forthcoming festivities, our private celebration in the middle of the following week, and the end of this awful year.
None of us could have known as we sat there that a mere twenty-four hours later our area of Sydney’s Northern Beaches would become the latest virus hotspot in Australia.
Fast-forward a week and our hospitals are on major alert, our borders have been shut down, stores and pubs closed, and Christmas drinks cancelled. While friends of mine frantically try to get their children back from other states and countries, Kurt and I find ourselves at home in self-isolation.
Christmas is effectively cancelled.
The turkey that I bought the day before the news broke for the seven close friends who were supposed to join us at our table this year, and our daughter – who is denied entry to our “dark side” of Sydney – will now feed three.
Meanwhile, the residents of what is known in Sydney as “God’s Country” – one of the many, I hasten to add – remain in shock. And, albeit that we never felt smug about our quick suppression of the virus, many of us are aware of a certain level of complacency that set in over the past few months.
And COVID isn’t picky.
As such, it is with a much heavier heart than I expected that I wish you all a Merry Christmas this year – a year that has provided us (and many others) with its usual bag of mixed blessings
Some of you may have noticed that I have been quieter on this site than usual this year – in part due to my need to consolidate my writing projects, and in part due to 2020, which provided us with more than enough new philosophies about life (and its fuckery) without the need for my outpourings.
However let me assure you that I continue to endeavour to take each day as it comes, and to control what I can – which as you know, is not always easy.
And if any of you are feeling a little blue at the moment, the best piece of advice I can offer you is to keep in mind that tomorrow is another day, and to hang in there. The only way to fight this virus is to keep listening to our scientists, and to set aside our own needs for the more vulnerable among us.
Yes, Christmas will be different this year, but some things won’t change in our household: I will no doubt lose the plot before lunch reaches the table, I will have my usual trip in heels that are too high for me, and I will lose at Monopoly, again. It’s also fairly safe to say that I will forget about a bowl of vegetables in the microwave, that we won’t discover until Boxing Day.
But imagine what it will be like for those who have lost someone, those who are quarantining in hotels in self-isolation, or those who are sick and live in permanent fear of catching the virus?
Sure, it would easier to stake my claim to the big sofa for the next couple of days, crack open the box of Quality Street, and feel bloody sorry for myself.
But I won’t.
Because I refuse to let this thing beat us.
COVID may have won the battle, this year but we won’t let it win the war.
Let’s get our boxing gloves on and fight this thing. Churchill promised during the Second World War that we would “never surrender”, and that’s exactly the approach I’ve decided to take next year. I suggest you do the same.
I’ve already lit the torch on Christmas at our house. And while I’m not suggesting we fight the virus with mince pies, I’ve already tested the Aldi ones – and the marzipan topping is pretty amazing. TheTurkish Delight and chocolate-coated pretzels are next on my hit list.
The presents are wrapped, the karaoke machine is charging, and the Baileys is cooling in the fridge for later this evening when I realise the stuff I’ve forgotten to buy.
But once everything is set, I will make time to start thinking seriously about how I can hold my loved ones even tighter next year.
Stay safe, everyone!