Jon's Blog : Happily Ever After?

How's your summer been so far?  I'm guessing it's not been quite like you anticipated when you planned it earlier this year, or even last year.  We were looking forward to a sunny two weeks in Cyprus, but made the decision back in May to postpone that by a year.

So we joined the masses having a "staycation" here in (fortunately very sunny) England.  We've done it before and had a lovely time, but that was back in the days when you could go to swimming pools and soft play, or wander freely around central London.  This time we arranged a mix of a sports camp, paddling pool and screens, with an impromptu visit to the fairground that popped up nearby.

Just as we were wondering what else to do with the days stretching ahead, some friends offered us their house near the beach for a few nights whilst they stayed elsewhere.  That was a huge blessing, to have some time by the sea and away from home.  I didn't realise how true it was that a change can be as good as (or help massively with) a rest.  I even learned how to feed their tortoise!

And now we're back, the weather's returned to usual (I'm writing to a steady drizzle of rain outside) and we're gearing up for the new term.  Some things feel quite normal – sorting out stationary, getting new and larger clothes, getting ready for our older son's birthday the day before he returns to school.  But, already, in other ways it all also feels just as abnormal as it did before our holiday –I'm still working from home, our son's party will look very different this year, church is still closed and school will feel very different.

Of course, I'm very aware that a lot of what I'm talking about are firmly "first world problems".  It could be so much worse than it is for us, in our boat in this storm.  In my better moments, I'm trying to use the current pandemic to remind me of the blessings that I still have, and to appreciate the ones that I can still receive.

But I think it's ok not to be ok with the extent of the disruption that COVID-19 has brought, and the length of time it's persisting.  We might have lost the art of lament, but it can nevertheless be helpful to acknowledge our struggles and express our grief.  There's also the uncertainty of what else will happen as we go into the autumn, and beyond.  When will we get our happily ever after of post-COVID life?  (Spoiler alert: Bill Gates apparently thinks the end of 2021.)

It makes me reflect on what I value, and where I'm investing my time and my energy.  When so much is stripped away, it can help you be less distracted and realise what's been driving you.  COVID-19 will eventually end, but I hope when it does I'm not quite the same person as when it began.

Jon is the father of two delightful boys, with a fantastic wife who also works four days a week.  They are both lawyers, and Jon has worked in the City for around 15 years as a solicitor in the insurance industry.  He is now becoming an expert in Minecraft and Pokemon.

Category: A Cityfather's Diary

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