19 CANDLES. BIRTHDAYS IN THE TIMES OF COVID19 | ANITA MENDIRATTA & Associates

35,000 feet.

That is where today – 17.06 – is always wished to be spent each year if not able to be with loved ones. Neither are an option this year.

COVID19 has turned the days of 2020 into a long blur – days turning into weeks turning into months turning into a year beyond fiction, beyond explanation, beyond imagination. Through it all, punctuation marks have appeared: question marks, exclamation marks, characters covering up letters for words growled but not to appear in print. And then there are dates in bold text: birthdays.

And so, as this date neared – my birthday – reflection began. Heading to LHR to board a long-haul flight to call in the first moments of the day up at 35k was clearly not going to happen. 17 06 2020 was to be spent in the same place as the past 100+ days of 2020 lockdown. The usual, loved pause of reflection up in the air – anonymous, uncontactable, surrounded by silence, in a bubble of time and space (with bubbles in hand) – was to be a tradition skipped in 2020.

But that did not mean that the pause was to be passed by.

Quite the contrary.

If lockdown of COVID19 has shown us anything it is that time, this time, is vital to making sure that we do not waste the opportunity to stop, centre, see all we have around us, and whisper a word of thanks. Never again (probably, hopefully) will we be asked, demanded, to suspend our daily existence, staying apart, even if it means our livelihoods, economies, communities and future certainties falling apart. Something bigger mattered. COVID19, with its invisibility, and its terrifying ability to take life with evert droplet, mattered more than anything before.

As the world entered lockdown, geography after geography, month after month, together or apart, ready or not, the world stopped. Suddenly coping mechanisms took over – one’s wiring working to make sense of days without routine, without regular access, without a real sense of timing of ‘for how long?’. The ‘new normal’ was in fact a ‘now normal’ until the ‘next normal’ came along. Facts vs fears. Connection vs isolation. COVID19 vs the world.

100+ days on, slooooowwwwly the world is starting to open up, restrictions easing, living the ‘next normal’ getting easier as rules, regulations and routines are more familiar. Comfort in the discomfort zone.

But wait. Not so fast.

As much as we are focusing our fearful yet hopeful hearts and minds on leaving these times behind us, let’s not rush out just yet. Why? Because there will be moments in these times that, unquestionably, we will miss. Moments of stillness, of newness, of awareness, we will miss. And critically, moments for which we must always remain grateful.

For this reason, not wanting to let this birthday pass in a blur, a pause took place to think: from these 100+ COVID19 days, what are my 19 moments/memories/milestones of pure, unedited, undeniable appreciation.

What will I forever remember this time by?

These, without hesitation and filter, are my 19 COVID19 birthday candles:

  1. Heroes, first and foremost, standing on the front line taking care of what is most important: our health, our safety, our stability
  2. Health….mine still strong, still safe…and that of family, both family by blood and family by choice
  3. Satellites, keeping us connected, every second, every day, every conversation, every virtual hug
  4. AM2AM, every a.m. to p.m.
  5. My gorgeous AM&A Girls – Jessica & Grace
  6. My Clients, acronyms so adored across the world, across the alphabet, across an array of challenges and emotions we never thought we would share
  7. Springtime – its rhythm, its hope, its softness & freshness
  8. Foxes spotted running through central London, because they can
  9. Swans, squirrels and other feathery and fluffy sweeties
  10. Fresh milk and fresh flowers, throughout
  11. Ideation inspired through crisis, now absolute labours of love: RISE – http://www.rise-weekly.com / & HospitalityTomorrow – https://www.hospitalitytomorrow.com
  12. Hearing a new calling, working non-stop with no desire to stop
  13. Her Majesty
  14. Bubbles! Groups, girlfriends, shared clinks, quiet solo toasts
  15. Alice in Wonderland
  16. Amazon / Nike / M&S / F&M – lockdown essentials just one click away
  17. In-home studio lights / mics / virtual magic!
  18. SW1W 0AJ
  19. These 100 days

And a bonus #20: British VOGUE, no question about it. https://www.vogue.co.uk/

For these 19 (+1) am I thankful, deeply, deeply thankful.

Before any more time passes, please take the time to pause. Capture the 19 signatures of this time that a year, 5 years, 10 years from now, you will look back on with a quiet smile.

Do it now, while memories are fresh, hearts are open, before the world reopens….

Good will come from this time. It must.

May we never feel 2020’s purpose was wasted. x

 

 

Copyright: ANITA MENDIRATTA 2020