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I remember confetti and peals of drunken laughter as we grabbed each other and embraced, skittish and sweaty, overwhelmed at the prospect of another year - another 365 days of empty space waiting to be filled. When I think back to the foolhardy words that escaped my mouth that night I laugh - because if you don't laugh you'll cry, right? "I've got a good feeling about this one!" But how exactly does one reach this point? Why was I so adamant that this year, of all years, would be different, would be better? Perhaps it was a subconscious desire, perhaps I wanted to manifest some good shit. More than likely it was the Prosecco. I don't regret the Prosecco, but I often regret the words. It's like it happened slowly, then all at once. Falling out of a plane - for a second you feel weightless, and then the further you fall, the faster it gets. The dawning realisation of the domino effect. The alarmed response to the world being more connected than ever before - something we stopped cherishing and started taking for granted. Being so connected offered us a world of brilliant possibilities, and yet perhaps we forgot that darkness spreads just as quickly as light. A single vial potentially spilled. Pathogens pouncing, bouncing from life to life, springing from seemingly nowhere. Transmission. It's no surprise that the virus moved at such speed - isn't that true of everything nowadays? When cases were first reported, people sprang into action, an attempt to match the tempo, but humans are not so speedy. We're clunky at best, too bogged down by systems and emotions and borders and other humans - we've piled layer upon layer of complexities to our once simple existence and now trying to escape from the weight of the blankets is an impossible task. What we've created are things that often slip from our control - better, stronger, crazier, faster things. Much faster. Sometimes things are so fast that you miss them, and sometimes this makes people wonder- if they really exist. People marched on the streets - thousands of them - shouting, hollering, awash with indignation. The mask was a breach of their individual liberty, a pointless veil shielding them from a non-existent threat. Other people - millions of them - marched across continents, aghast and angered at brutality, an alternative virus spreading hatred, deeply-ingrained in the hearts of many. The ripple effect was enormous. Word of mouth, words from mouths spreading like wildfire, fires in the wilds of scarred nations, rumours and fake news and memes catapulting across screens. It's true that we cannot always see the infection- but the impact is always a sight for sore eyes. It's a fast-paced world nowadays. And yet, the transmission of one invisible entity has, paradoxically, slowed us all



I found myself lying in bed, morning sunlight filtering through the blinds, and wondering what on earth I was going to do today. Because what I was normally going to do today had been rudely snatched from my grasp, and I realised how much I relied on a routine to feel like a human being. There were lots of days like that, but I filled up the hours with things I quite enjoyed. It was therapeutic, often scary. To spend so much time with myself - who would have thought it would be such a novelty? After all, I'm pretty much with her all the time. Some would say we're inseparable. And at the same time I was reaching out to other people. Instantly, their faces would appear on my screen, pixelated and poignant, and we'd marvel at how the world had seemingly turned upside down, how we didn't realise what would happen when you take the cogs out of the wheel. Or rather, when the wheel stops. We'd never stopped before, only paused. Briefly.

I've always been a fan of surprises, but I didn't think I was prepared for the surprise of each day - of not knowing what might happen, not being able to plan. Yet here I am, plan-less and and somewhat at peace with it.

Peace is not really something the world knows much about. Chaos, yes, peace - a girl can dream. You can find it, though, in places you didn't expect, such as

inside yourself (though it takes some effort.) Peace, calm, tranquility. Stillness. Speed's unadulterated nemesis. Perhaps something we had abandoned in favour of the go go go. I wonder if now we're drawn to it, relishing the chance to wait, delayed gratification, meditation. When I release the confetti at the stroke of midnight this year, perhaps I'll be cautiously optimistic (though no less drunk.) I want to be overwhelmed at the prospect of another year, for all the right reasons - the possibilities of change, growth, love, frolicking around (it's the simple things, you know?) I want to be plan-less and at peace with it. I want the kind of fear that flicks a switch, not the kind that cripples, that springs from one person to another, mutating, limiting, crushing hopes and potential. Stay tuned.


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