Sight of a Brighter Future

Lockdown Exit Strategy

At the beginning of the week Boris Johnston set out a route map for England to get out of Lockdown. Nicola Sturgeon made announcements for Scotland the following day. Here is a little of what to expect from the next few months.

8th March, all schools reopen and two people can sit outdoors together and care home residents are allowed one regular visitor. 29th March, six people from two households can meet outdoors and outdoor sports are allowed along with traveling outside local area. 12th April, non-essential retail and outdoor hospitality can open along with the gyms and some holiday accommodation. 17th May, outdoors social contact rules are lifted, 6 people can meet indoors and indoor hospitality and hotels open. 21st June all legal limits on social contact are removed and everywhere else such as nightclubs will be allowed to open. Although these rules are JUST for England.

In Scotland things are a little different. From the 5th April the stay at home restrictions will be lifted and schools might fully reopen, but still only outdoor meeting is allowed. Then, on the 26th of April we return to the levels system we had at the end of last year. I have hopes that we will at least be moved to level 3 restrictions then which means restaurants will be allowed to open. I might be able to have a nice meal out for my birthday as I have personally missed going out to restaurants with friends the most. I’m not entirely sure of what will happen after that and I understand that these dates could change so I can’t set my heart on making any plans just yet. 

I would also like to add that the coronavirus alert level has been lowered from level five to level 4 in all 4 countries of the UK. That means that the pressure on our NHS isn’t as severe as it was as the alert level was raised to 5 at the beginning of the year. This has no effect on the lockdown measures but it is in indication for the scientific advisers as level 4 still states the virus has a high transmission rate. I can see a brighter future ahead for all of us but for now it is important to continue to suppress the virus.

Hair Shaving

Something that has been bothering me for a while was the length of my hair. It was getting too long, felt greasy, awful to dry and I would feel the need to wear hats all the time. So I took the decision to shave it off. Not completely bald, but it’s quite a large difference. A literal weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

I’m not quite sure if this is a diary worthy entry. But this, for me, is a big deal. I’m not the usual type to take such a great pride in my hair but I still want it to look good. I’ll be unable to get a haircut professionally for the next few months at least. I asked mum if she could do it for me and she was more than happy to. Unfortunately she done it a little patchy so I had to finish it myself. It took a lot longer than expected as I had to get both my mum and dad to point out the bits that had been missed. In the end, I am satisfied with my new style and I feel like a new person. When I can eventually get my hair done at the barbers again it will hopefully be before going to the pub or to a nice restaurant.

Erin and Ben

I was really nervous about working this week as I was going to be working with both Erin and Ben. I was really anxious about going into work and seeing both of them and I was over thinking every little scenario in my head. I know it’s silly, but I thought it would be very awkward and I would maybe get a little upset after everything that has happened. Although it was a really good shift with them both.

I hadn’t spoken to Erin in about 2 weeks and I’ve not actually spent any time with her outside of work since the start of January. I thought it would be a little weird but as soon as she walked through the door (I got to work first) she acknowledged my hair. I appreciated that. I also offered her a new energy drink that I had bought, I didn’t quite like it, but it was something that she would like. She also accompanied me for a cigarette before we properly started work to have a quick catch up. I felt as if we cleared the air a little, maybe there was no “air to clear”, but I felt a little better. After work she asked if I would be able to drive her home as she lives on the way and it felt quite relaxing. I told her that if she wanted to hang out at some point, if to go for an adventure or to the supermarket, or even just for chilling out, to let me know. 

I was expecting Ben to try his best to avoid me. To not want to work closely with me if possible. Perhaps make things a little more difficult if possible. But his company was actually quite pleasant. I tried to be the best version of myself as possible because I clearly care of his opinion of me. I don’t think I’ll have a chance to see or speak to him after this project is over so I need to make the most if it. I want to enjoy his company while I can and make sure I don’t cause any unnecessary drama. He’s the first person I’ve ever seen that can bend his fingers and his thumb in a certain way the same way I can. I know that’s a silly little thing but I don’t know anybody else that can bend their thumb in any direction like I can. 

I’m actually thinking about giving him a copy of the letter I wrote last year to him before the team disbands. I’m thinking about giving out the other letters I wrote as well. A part of my journey of being more open with myself and others around me. I’m not sure how he would react to reading something that I wrote, especially at one of my lowest points in life. I really really really wish we could just be friends.

Physical Lockdown Diary

I got the first few copies of my published ‘Lockdown Diary’ that I had written throughout the last year in the initial stages of the global lockdown. I can’t describe how awesome it feels to actually have a book in my hands that I have written. I never would have expected for that to happen as I always tried to get some poetry published or perhaps a short story in a magazine but I had never put in as much dedication to anything like it. Writing has always been an escape for me and I always had a dream to make something real from it. 

I genuinely hope that my book manages to generate some sales and gain popularity. I mean, I’m not primarily writing to gain fame or fortunes, but I do have a hope that if someone can read what I’ve written and it may help them then I am more than happy. Things didn’t seem real until I was actually holding it in my hands, flipping through the pages, reading it from cover to cover, as if I was reading for the first time. I wonder if the publication will be praised and how much further it will really go. Time will tell.

I guess in a strange way, this current 2021 diary is my exit strategy from my mental health issues. As I have the plan to write every Friday and with each entry having a title and separated with sub titles, perhaps this could be, if all goes well, like a sequel to my first book. I also feel quite excited that this is my 9th entry and there will be 44 more entries to come. As if my life was a story I am telling and things are only going to get bigger and better as the protagonist succeeds with whatever quest he is on. How many story arcs will 2021 have and what will happen in the end. I think maybe when I start to take some time out to write in my diary I am able to separate myself from reality a little bit and to reflect on the events of the week. So, in a weird kind of way, I am the writer, author and reader of my story.

There were parts that I didn’t include in my published diary. Some of the letters that I wrote to some people that are for my viewing only. Also my ‘Reflections of’ entires that included my thoughts and feelings of previous diary entires. ‘Reflections of 2017’, etc I wrote a paragraph about each entry that I had written, maybe how my feelings had changed about a certain subject or maybe anything I wanted to add. Those diary entires helped me a lot as it proved to me how far on my journey I have come and gave me the confidence to get over my current trials. I really want to go through my ‘Lockdown Diary’ at some point and write about each entry in a paragraph. Perhaps that could be something I do later in the year as just by reading it now I already know how far I’ve come and I am so proud of myself. It doesn’t feel like it most of the time but I am extremely lucky to have my diary.

First Birthday

My nephew had his first birthday. His first year on this Earth hasn’t been the greatest as he hasn’t had the same first year as most babies will have had. It’s such a shame that I think I could probably count the number of times that I’ve seen him. But to be honest I doubt he’ll ever remember anything about coronavirus or lockdown when he is older, perhaps he will only learn about it at school. That’s what I’m hoping for anyway as I would hate his first memories to be of lockdown but instead of the happier memories he has playing with his toys and walks with his parents.

I gave him the Psyduck plush that I ordered online. I still have hopes that he will be into video games and things like Pokémon when he is older like I was. My sister also loved the photograph box with the reprints in it. My nephew was more interested in chewing on the plastic but I think it’s a little more symbolic as this will be his family photos that I hope my sister will add to over to over many years. 

My sister isn’t very good at baking. She baked my nephew a birthday cake, trying to make it healthy, but it wasn’t very much of a cake. It was meant to be a carrot cake but instead it was a little rubbery and looked more like a flat biscuit. I thought it was pretty awesome that she tried instead of spending far too much money on a cake from the supermarket. I tried a bit but didn’t like the texture. My nephew ended up with it on the floor with him and we got some photos, it was very cute. I’ve seen photos of other kids first birthdays where they get a cake and destroy it, I think they call it a ‘cake smash’ party i’m not sure. The photos we got will be memorable. Our family don’t have very many photos over the recent years but with the arrival of a new member of the family, that will obviously change. 

My nephew has a very bright future ahead of him with 2 awesome parents and of course an awesome uncle. It may take a little time for me to be the best uncle ever but I am determined more than ever. I believe he was one of the reasons I made it through lockdown and you never know, I could be an uncle to even more in the future if my sister wants another. Then I can be twice as awesome… or three times as awesome? I think I may be pushing it now. Not sure if I will ever be a father myself at this point, it is a possibility, but I think I would like to be in a stable relationship before I make any sort of decisions in that field.

Vaccinations at 28.2% (1.2%)

The first dose of vaccinated people stands at 28.2% of the Scottish adult population now. Not a significant of an increase from last Friday, but that was to be expected as the availability isn’t as great but that should increase in the coming weeks (or so it is hoped). Although the percentage of second doses is on the up. As the vaccination does require both dozes to be fully effective against the virus. I have decided to include the percentage of people that have received both doses in my heading in the coming weeks in brackets (that stands at 1.2% from today) and I will continue to record that statistic in my diary.

262 million people have been given vaccinations worldwide.

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