So this isn’t exactly how I expected to be finishing my final year at university. Today I was supposed to be sitting an exam. This weekend I was supposed to be flying to Greece for four months where I’d be working as a childcare practitioner. I was going to have a party this year, I graduate, turn 25 and was going to do exciting things – those things seemed like something to celebrate.
But the global pandemic that has been created by corona virus had other ideas. So here I am, sat in my middle brother’s childhood bedroom turned office, having handed in my final assignment yesterday, listening to my youngest brother sit a chemistry exam next door. I would put money on the fact there are a lot of people sitting in a similar position feeling the same. Rootless. Uncertain. Unsure.
Three years of work accumulated in a very anticlimactic online submission. And now we wait to see what my lecturers decide my brain power is worth. I have greater concerns however, I have already secured my Qualified Teacher Status after my final placement in November which I’m thankful for. However, the next challenges seem to be bigger. Securing a job, for anything, right now seems to be a challenge. With so many people out of work or in insecure positions, even the fruit picking roles appear to have vaporised. And by vaporised, I mean taken. Roles in hospitality presently are non-existent. The only supermarket vacancies which have appeared seem to require a truck license, and given my inability to parallel park a small estate car consistently, I’m not sure I’d ever be given the responsibility of navigating the small lanes throughout the Cumbrian countryside in a metric tonne of food truck. C’est la vie.
My skills lie in talking to small people, to those who make you giggle without meaning to. Who see the world with eyes free from the cynicism which seems to infect the population at younger and younger years. I miss my friends, I miss smiling gurgling babies and I miss popping over for coffees. Most bizarrely of all, I miss exercising with the triathlon club. I miss the friendly banter and those people who are on the periphery of your life, who you chat to every week (sometimes multiple times a week) but aren’t close enough to be your friends. I want to know how their families are, how the paving is going in their garden, whether they’d recommend their new pizza oven. I wish I was in the market for a pizza oven but I think perhaps fitting shelves in my living room is higher on the priority list! Anyway, what I’m trying to say, like most people right now, I miss normality.
I love my family don’t get me wrong, but quite frankly it’s a blessing only one brother is home. Living together as adults for all four of us has been an adjustment. And there has certainly been a fair share of frayed tempers and raised voices, but for the most part we’re managing. But I’m fairly sure that brother #2 and I are both incredibly ready to return to seeing each other for significantly less time than we are presently enforced into each other’s company. I love where I’m from, the Lake District is beautiful, and tantalising close. But has been entirely inaccessible to me, if you are to stick to ‘STAY HOME’ advice accurately. Whilst I feel incredibly lucky to have such a beautiful location in the middle of the countryside to return to when the whole world feels like it’s turned upside down and I know I’m incredibly privileged, I can’t help being worried about what’s coming and the implications of the current situation.
In the not too distant future I will need to return to a new reality. And I’m scared. I’m not great with unexpected change, or ones I haven’t instigated. And the new world that we’re living is entirely not on my terms. For today, I’m going to continue to exist in complete denial that the world outside of my small bubble is there. Tomorrow, I will need to face the music. Apply for jobs and investigate new options for supporting the lost income from my rental property which I rely on heavily at present. But for now I’m going running to find a space where nothing but my heavy breathing and regular footfall matters. I’ll catch you soon.