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  • Writer's pictureGill Lambert

Time and tides

Happy new year. Perhaps we all thought that on the stroke of midnight in 31st December 2020, this whole shiz would be over. Perhaps we thought we would at least be the right side of it all. But here we are, back in lock-down for the foreseeable. A very different lock-down this time, too; in Spring it was all a bit different, a bit new. I remember writing a status at the start of March 'I wouldn't mind a fortnight off work'. Hmmm.

We were given a gift of time and we tried to fill it with baking, walking, gardening, sewing, reading, writing. I did all those things. I talked to my mum in the phone like I used to years ago instead of texting her every day. I looked up at a sky unblemished by vapour trails and listened to trees vibrating with the hum of bees. Spring was kind and gave us weather that made us want to spend time outdoors. Or unkind if you had nowhere to spend it.

I had so many plans for the time I'd been given. My kitchen cupboards would be tidy at last, I'd knit up all my stash of yarn and finish my novel. But now, 10 months later, the pans balance precariously as I shut the door on them, I have to sit on the plastic box my wool is in to close it because, forgive me, I have bought more. And I've written 25 thousand words. But I have run several workshops, grown things, knitted a bit and written at least half of the words I have towards the considerable number I need to finish my book.

New Year forces us to look back and measure ourselves and our achievements. We think about the things we said we'd do and tot up the things we actually did. We look back and berate ourselves for not succeeding: not losing weight, not finishing that novel, not running 5k. (yes, dear reader, I have been all those people) And then we make exactly the same promises to ourselves again for the new year.

Perhaps, this year should be different. Maybe we need to cut ourselves a bit of slack. This lock-down is harder because it's cold and dark out there. The temptation to hunker down and see the next few weeks out from under a duvet is stronger than ever. The need for cosiness and lights, nice food and comfy clothes is huge. This time, the time we've been given might be best used doing what is necessary to get through it. To ditch the resolutions and just love the person we are. For now.

I'm not saying don't take up a new hobby or try and improve your fitness, but don't feel it's what you should do. Today is the day that we are meant to take the Christmas decs down because it's twelfth night but I've seen loads of people keep their lights up. And why not? This year, why don't we leave our lights up, light that scented candle we've been saving for goodness knows what, wear that dress/shirt/pair of boots. Because now , for the moment, is all we have.

This year I have taken up wild swimming. I have found it to be exhilarating, exciting and addictive. I started in July and I've swum every month since, including every day in November. I never thought for a minute I'd still be swimming outdoors in January. It feels good for me. It helps with menopause symptoms and it's made me aware of my body and its ability to stand extremes. I have made loads of new friends online and in real life who swim and found that as well as having wild swimming in common, we have other things, like poetry, books, art and nature. On Saturday 30th January Mark and I are running a poetry workshop for people interested in swimming to write about the experience and details are here.

One thing I have promised myself is to write a blog every week and some of you will know I have made this promise before, so we'll see how I go. I have other resolutions but they are between me and my swimming costume.

Take care and be well. xx

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