Lockdown has meant sacrifices – everyone has had to give up something.
Everyone has had to give up the ability to meet family and friends. Everyone has given up the ability to go of a place of their choosing on their own accord.
Some people have given up their dream holidays. Some people have given up their weddings.
Some people have had to give up even more. Some people can’t even leave their own homes because of their health. Some people are living apart from their loved ones in order to keep the country running and literally save lives.
Some people have paid the ultimate sacrifice and given their lives so others may live.
We have all had to give up something that meant a lot to us. Time is on hold. Life is hold. I feel like somewhere someone has pressed stop on a giant stopwatch, and now all we can do is sit and wait – a bit like a giant game of musical statues.
I was afraid to commit to paper what I have given up. I feel like others have given up so much more than I. But that doesn’t make what I feel I have lost any less important. I hope that by sharing my thoughts others will realise their feelings during this crazy time are just as valid.
Last May I left my husband of 9 years. I wasn’t expecting to bounce back quickly from such a major life change, and I haven’t. I’ve been taking the time to grieve for a life and a future that didn’t materialise. I very briefly dipped my toe into the world of dating at the end of last year, but then quickly realised it wasn’t for me, and so I’ve been taking the time to get to know me again. I always thought I would meet someone new at some point, but there was no need to rush or force it.
But now my ability to do that and move on has been taken away from me. At this point in life I feel I should be out socialising, making new friends and a new life to fill the void that inevitably comes with divorce. But I obviously can’t do that during lockdown.
When we take a rational look at the evidence, there is likely to be some sort of restriction on our lives for the next year and a half at the very least. History tells us that pandemics do not come and go in a year, and the government is starting to admit that we will not be returning to our ‘old lives’ anytime soon. We have to be ready to live in a very different way.
That means I am likely to be 36 before I start living my life anywhere near the way it was before. And as a woman of a certain age that scares me.
Ever since my divorce, there has always been some small part of me that was aware that my biological clock was ticking – that I have a small window of an optimum few years with which to find someone and settle down. Factor in the fact that I have two medical conditions that affect fertility, I think it would be fair to say that this nagging fear has quickly spiralled out of control during lockdown.
I’ve always wanted to find the right partner with which to start a family. I’ve had that maternal yearning for as long as I care to remember. I don’t think even my closest friends realise how badly I want it and how much it means to me. If I’m honest, in the last few years of the marriage I think it was one of the main reasons that I stayed – that I somehow felt I deserved to finally have children after being married for so long.
So putting my life on hold for a potential two years makes me feel like I have lost the chance to have my dream – my dream to find that special someone and start a family. Let’s be realistic – all that takes time. Even if lockdown was to be lifted tomorrow its highly unlikely I’m going to find my soulmate and settle down straight away.
There is a part of me that feels almost stupid for putting these fears out into the world when there are far worse things happening at the moment, but for me this is my biggest fear realised. If I was a student at Hogwarts facing a boggart, it would appear as an older version of me, alone and with no family to call my own. I’m not ashamed to admit the thought petrifies me, and I have burst into tears simply thinking about it.
Don’t get me wrong, I realise there is a chance I may one day still get my dream – but the odds of that happening decrease with every passing day. I look at every day that passes as a day closer to the end of lockdown – but I also look at it as another day of a missed future life.
But I still have a glimmer of hope – and I can’t sacrifice that.