Health, hope and happiness

This is my wish for us all in 2021.

In March last year, I would not have believed that we would still be unable to have our normal choir rehearsals after ten months. I remember hearing at the beginning of lockdown about an organisation putting their sessions on hold for 12 weeks and thought it was excessive. A way of living that seemed unimaginable has become the norm. We are fearful of touching people, which is sad. I watch TV and almost wince at the casual handshakes and hugs we used to take for granted.

I am grateful for many things, not least that I live with someone I really like, and our house is big enough for us to work in separate rooms. Our youngest child was here from March to July, struggling with trying to do drama school online and missing her friends but we didn’t have to cope with young children at home. (From July to September her boyfriend joined our bubble and we were a happy foursome.)

We have a fantastic park on our doorstep and woods nearby, so we can walk or run from the door and see greenery and hear birds. The elderly relations we cannot visit are healthy and well cared for.

When I heard people saying, a few weeks ago, “I can’t wait for 2020 to be over”, I felt uneasy. It was as though the troubles of the past months were the calendar’s fault. Once the number of the year changed, everything would get better. We were hanging our hopes on “next year” being the time when we could return to a more familiar way of life. But of course it doesn’t work like that. January 2021 is just the week after December 2020, and the hoped-for changes, like the vaccine, will take time to happen.

The only way to live through 2021 is one day at a time. We need to look after our own health, eating right and sleeping plenty, spending some time outside every day. It’s important to try and connect with other people, however we can, and not get stuck in our own heads. Try to be optimistic. It’s very difficult not having the usual milestones of holidays and celebrations to look forward to, but Spring will come and babies will be born and puppies will be adorably naughty.

Music can help us weather the storms. Whether you listen to Debussy or Daft Punk, music fills your head. Let your body feel the music and move about. Don’t be shy about singing along. Much of the music we love brings memories of other times in our lives, and the people we knew then, which is another dimension of enjoyment.

Why not try learning to sing a song you love? It’s easy to find lyrics for almost anything on the internet. (I have to warn you that you almost NEVER know the song as well as you thought you did!) Or you could revisit songs you’ve enjoyed singing in choir.

What about writing your own song? If you’re not confident about making up a new tune, use a tune you already know.

Whatever 2021 has in store, I wish you peace and harmony.

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