Navigating Through Life At A Social Distance

2020 was set to be “our year”. We had our wedding on the horizon, a date of Sunday 3rd May which had been planned for two years. Along with that came our hen do, stag do, hair and make up trial, strategically planned haircuts and nail appointments – the superficial bits and bobs everyone planning a wedding loves and enjoys. Not to mention a 3 week Californian road trip, travel and accommodation planned down to every minor detail. We had planned to go to Glastonbury (albeit with a questionable lineup) and visit Orlando later in the year with our family. It all feels really strange and distant to think about now, because everything is suddenly so up in the air and let’s face it, postponed!

We were extremely lucky to have such a year ahead of us and I’m not forgetting that at all as I write this. I also must admit that the current situation the world is in has only brought home the reason we were excited for it all in the first place; to spend time with each other, our loved ones and make amazing memories.

So put us about 4 weeks ago, with all these plans, and fast forward to now.

Mat has just cancelled all of our honeymoon plans and we’ve luckily come away relatively scot-free in terms of finances. Our wedding is rearranged, also financially okay with thanks to amazing suppliers. I picked up my dress yesterday, still awaiting two final fittings, which will take place in 2021. And oddly enough I don’t feel too sad about any of that stuff. I feel relieved that we are giving our wedding and honeymoon a chance to be just as we planned for both us and our guests, not taking place with no guests, not compromising on anyone’s safety and a scary world to enter as ‘The Hunsleys’. I feel like I can focus on the more immediate worries in the world; how can we take care of loved ones, keep ourselves safe, and when will this be over? Will we ever be normal again?

Mat works as a Doctor on a respiratory ward at the minute, so I worry for his and his colleagues safety; both physically and mentally. I can’t even begin to imagine working on the frontline of this, so I plan to keep home as safe and fun as possible over the coming months. Part of our fear sits with that; how will work be for Mat? What will happen if he/we get it? I am so proud of Mat, not only for what he does, but who he is as a person. And I keep telling him that no matter what, he will be having a positive impact on people’s lives through this. He’s a wonderful person and how lucky am I to be marrying him?!

I work for a pharmaceutical company, so have also been identified as a key worker. Work for me is oddly very positive at the minute. We are making every effort to keep ourselves in a positive state of mind, from joking around on video conferences, to socially distanced walks at lunch time. I’m very grateful for my work colleagues and feel so happy to work with such amazing people.

I feel terrified of this virus. I don’t like to think of myself of a ‘numbers’ or ‘data’ person but I have been trying to rely on numbers in the last week. Death rates in the UK vs. the rest of the world… numbers of confirmed cases… I even deleted Facebook and Instagram from my phone the other day to stop surrounding myself in it all. It did help, as everything you seem to see online points at this being a ‘deadly virus’. Despite the NHS and websites telling us the vast majority of cases will be mild, my anxious brain will not let me rest on that alone and for some of the time I find myself beginning to worry about any of my family and friends getting it and how everyone will respond. I’m quite proud of myself for how few of those moments I have had, as I’m remaining fairly positive for the most part, but this wouldn’t be an honest post if I didn’t say I had those worries too.

The main thing I am trying to focus on at the minute is that we are all in this together. I don’t mind about or wedding or honeymoon plans being postponed because this is impacting everyone in different ways and if nothing else, we all have that in common. We will all be stuck inside wondering what to do with ourselves and everyone will be having the same concerns and worries as I’ve listed above. This is like nothing we have ever faced, not only as a nation but as a world!

I do also maintain a lot of hope for the world after coronavirus. I don’t know when that will be, but we will all look back proud of how this was dealt with. We will be proud and happy for remembering what is important in life, forgetting the smaller frustrations in life and realising the bigger picture. There will be street parties, more support for local businesses, less time spent behind phone screens. There will be a baby boom and people will embrace each other even tighter, even after a few days apart. We will appreciate our NHS more than ever and doctors and nurses and all other healthcare professionals will have the respect they deserve. I really hope all that becomes a reality, even if we have to wait a while for now.

So here comes the (less anxious and concerned) other half of my personality…

Social distancing; we’ve got this. And soon enough we will all be cuddling again and cheers-ing with prosecco and champagne when reunited. I’ve been mentally making a list of how I’m going to spend this time (well, both Mat and I!) and although I am still going to be at work through the days and on shifts, I need things to fill my evenings and weekends with to keep my mind happy and keep myself fit. For a start, I have a while before our wedding now so a while to keep off the stone I lost in the last 6 months…I need to maintain some control in my life!

Here’s my list:

  • Cook some really great, healthy meals, helped by my weekly Gousto deliveries (let me know if you want a code! I hope we can still get these in the coming months!) Also stop wasting food… this feels more important than usually.
  • Visit more of Northumberland with Mat and our dog Pippin, spending the weekend days on long weekend walks or runs
  • Run more. Whether or not the Great North Run takes place or not, I want to improve my running again, which I’ve let slip whilst going to the gym more the last few months. At work we have also started a Strava Challenge – this week’s challenge was to draw a penis on our exercise route… see? How great are my work mates?
  • Facetime family more. We are planning on more facetime sessions as an entire family, including watching films together whilst on facetime and playing games.
  • Ring my grandparents more – should be doing this anyway, pretty self explanatory.
  • Tick off some of our watchlist. Wedding and honeymoon postponed, we treated ourselves to a new TV. Nothing too snazzy but it does have a Netflix button and a Prime video button. Also just got Disney+… hello Coco and Frozen II!
  • Organise (and possibly decorate?) the house and garden. We were gearing up to moving in the next 12 months but doubt that will happen now, so it’s time to make our safe space even more lovely and cosy.
  • Firepit nights. We change the clocks forward next week so lighter nights are on their way and it’s time to embrace them.
  • Envisage future trips and more wedding plans. Self explanatory.
  • Pamper myself; tan on, nails done, brows plucked. The usual girly shit that makes me feel more myself than ever. I also plan to get my glam on even if I am only in the house. Makeup is still one of my fave things to do and I’m gonna still slap it on even if I’m not going anywhere but my kitchen.
  • Start using my fiit app…! My friend Katie just recommended this to me and I’ve already signed up. I’m going to try and do a class at least every other day if not more frequently that that. I think it will keep my mojo up!
  • Inventive date nights; movie nights in the living room, dinner dates at the kitchen table, snacks in bed with the TV on the laptop like when we were at uni… hit me with any ideas!
  • Tune into online streams; Bongo’s Bingo, Formula 1 and The Stand Comedy Club to name a few.
  • List to be revisited and expanded!

I didn’t want this post to be negative, nor scary, but I wanted it to be real. This is such a scary and uncertain time for the world but we are all in it together. I haven’t sat and just shared my feelings for quite some time but they’re out there now! It is a time we can all try and connect in a disconnected world. I might do more of these from time to time, or I might not post again for months. Who knows!

Also, we do in fact have a new wedding date… Sunday 14th February 2021. Valentine’s Day, how exciting?! I hope we have normal back by then, even if it’s a new normal, let’s hope it’s a happy new normal!

Time to go and tidy the kitchen, watch Friends and prepare for a run with Mat! And yes, it will be a run in the route of a penis….! What are we like!!

Keep safe and happy everyone! I wish you and your family the best, now and always.

Lots of love, Steph x


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