Written in June 2020 during lockdown.
My last day of work was 21st March 2020. We had all been wondering when it would be. Those last 2 days felt like I was standing on the edge of a cliff wondering when I would just drop because I knew somehow, everything would be changed forever. During a trauma, a fight and a blow to the face, an interrogation at work with your manager, time slows down; our perception of time warps and yet, at exactly the same time it was such a frenzy; London. There were the drips of unofficial news and of course the barrage of televised news. Some bits of fake news and some customers would deliver some very interesting untold news. That evening I arrived home and closed my door. That was the last time we closed our doors on that time of our lives. Door after door across the city closing. Then everything just stopped.
Time Time Time Time Tick Tick Tick Tick
How long will this last?
Daily Briefings at 5 Tick Tick I’ll watch that
It’s night time already?
When did it all start but more pressingly, will it all end?
I’ll start writing everything I do down in my diary to try and keep track of life.
I’ll go for an hour’s walk and plan my whole day around that.
How long have we been in lockdown?
I’ve lost track of everything.
The day had taken on a new form. Time had elongated suddenly and I’d never been through a Time like this one before. I’m not sure how ‘together’ I was feeling inside; “It’s time to be” and I’m at a loss. I live on my own so there was no ‘We’ with me and my whole life, career, friends, the speeding freight train that is London had stopped overnight. I couldn’t relate to those around me going through such different experiences, partly because I couldn’t see them anymore. We were not all in it together and it would be a disservice to others to claim that I knew, in any way, what they were going through. I was still an ‘I’ after all and the term ‘Mind the Gap’ took on a few new meanings. As independent as I am, I never meant to be this alone.
Make the most of this small walk and any small talk in shop queues.
At what age does it all just work out? At least I wasn’t going through all this in my twenties but I thought things were supposed to be better now?
Time goes by so slowly and Time can do so much…
I’ve lost track of everything,
Take me to another Time.
Time seems harder to get through when one lacks meaning and I was starting to lack everything, it started to feel like grief. Loss is a deep well of heavy velvet navy blue and the grieving of small, unnoticeable at first, parts of my life have been felt so acutely with the empty plate of endless time during this period. Everything around us keeps moving still, the pace of time, the walkers in the park, the benches with plaques and trees that have grown powerful and tall now. Is all we see just footprints of Time?
I think I would be wise to make peace with Time, stop fighting it, and avoid bemoaning its scarcity. There is plenty of Time to be had, as it turns out, ‘we’ve got all the Time in the world. Whatever you do, don’t waste Time.
Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick
Time we wear on our wrists, pin to a wall, keep on our computers, we mark how tall we were in what year and we love that. We love those lines on the wall and we look back and say ‘haha, that’s where I was then’ ‘that’s who I was at that Time of my life.’ They’re just lines on a wall. We can go back in Time that way. We can be early, late or just in Time. We can change Time if we remember it in the wrong or right way. Time is a mystery; it is all around us, no one can see it and yet life happens in our own Time. If I was to make the most of this free time then ‘Stop all the clocks’, it was Time to really start taking my Time.
I’ve spent hours missing all the old Times with my friends and replayed the photo book of memories that flicked through my mind, flashing as they did last night as I resisted the urge to sign up to another dating app. I am grateful for this time in a way that has taken me by surprise, a Time where the new ok is being internal and introverted, something that is at odds with moving to a big city. It’s like it’s suddenly acceptable to be who I really need to be sometimes. I’ve been staying in and I don’t just mean behind closed doors, I’ve been staying inside of me. It’s been perfect timing really. It may have taken 31 years and a Lockdown to find a way to live with myself, but here I am inside this house and though it may be rented, I know now the true meaning of the word ‘Home’. The kind of place that you don’t find through uploading something meaningless to Instagram and realising the only reason you uploaded it, was in the hope that the person you currently fancy will see it and not for any other reason. Not the kind of thing to be found through travel, a new dress or a romance with someone you hardly know. It’s just this small sensation, that’s all, that’s what I found. Maybe the journey isn’t so much about becoming anything; maybe it is about just letting go of all the things you don’t want to be anymore.
I look back on old friends’ social media accounts, on old relationships, a picture book of who they have become, the person they have chosen to show, how we’ve grown, how we are not friends anymore, how you meant everything to me back then. I’d do anything to be back in some club in Brighton right now and dancing with just you to some music no ones ever heard of. I miss you, home, home, breathe in, scream it; home.
I feel so different now, miles away from Brighton, years away from who I used to be and I have only Time to thank for that. Nothing outer could I offer to help with this, nothing inner could I probe or investigate really, it’s just Time. I have found a different kind of love for myself and at Times, in the long days, I have caught myself dancing, over-tired from sleeping in, unwashed and completely euphoric, all by myself. There really is something about being alone and blasting music out into the world oblivious to it all and feeling a moment of true love for what reason; I don’t know why. I just know that through love we get better, through love we grow and can even understand ourselves more than we ever could before. At best, love is transformative. Through our differences we are able to see ourselves more clearly and grow into this fuller version of the person we are meant to be, whoever that is, hopefully, at 31, I’m just on Time.
Things just happen in time. If you have a problem, a question, and are looking for an answer; it’s just time. Time flies. Time can stand still. Time is everything. In time, I’ll be grateful for how much I’ve changed again, for the new job I’ll have got, for the new boyfriend I’ll eventually marry, for new life lessons I didn’t even know were there to be learned, for the different kinds of love I’ll eventually find and share. I’ll look back on this time, maybe when I’m 41, who I was during this lockdown, how much I grieved alone and realise how little I knew about life then.
Life, Time, our perception of it is all we’ve got.
Written by Louisa Fairbrother (@loufairbrother),
Louisa is an actress based in South London and she also helps facilitate the Bernhardt Women’s Group at The Southwark Playhouse which all are welcome to.
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