I’m grateful for the steep decline in work/income, which has granted me the opportunity to live with mum again for a few months.

I’m also grateful for the steep decline in work/income, which has granted me the opportunity to live with mum again for a few months. Because what’s good about an adult child returning to the parental home is that it is deeply humbling. All that work you’ve done on yourself, your independence and the respect you might have garnered in various aspects of your life is just torn away as you are reduced to a child again. No button unpushed, no trigger left idle. What a deeply grounding experience. Namaste.

This year I was also gifted the knowledge that mum has decided she is an amateur ghost hunter. A spectre detector. She was so proud one day when she saw me looking into the middle distance, asking, “Are you there? Can you hear me? Let me know if you can hear me”. She thought I was having a séance. I was on a Zoom, but really, what’s the difference? There’s always someone on the call who is dead on the inside …. or a potato.

So sure, the year could have been better – we all could have seen this coming and bought shares in a puzzle company – but we’ve made it through (You have to show firgun** for the people in the booming puzzle industry. All those years; quiet, unassuming, playing the long game. I imagine they will be cracking the very fancy fizz come New Year’s Eve. Haven’t all the pieces fallen into place for them.)

My fingers are firmly crossed that the clatter of surplus empty bottles being poured into the recycling bin on January 1 will be attributed to the happy result of people gathering once again, rather than the sound of one lonely evening’s coping strategy during bleak times.

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And though our hands be cracked and dry from sanitisers whose vapours take our memories wafting back to bad tequila-soaked decisions we made in our 20s; and though all the psychologists are booked up for months as we beg them to tell us it will all be OK; and though our mothers are having more luck getting responses from spirits than we are from dates who have ghosted us; let us walk with vigour into a new year, believing it will be better because my cushions told me so.

*Began reading and bailed out about page 12, only to flick on some glossy, contrived trash I slurp up like sloppy mango dribbling down my chin.

**A new word I learnt this year which means “to be genuinely happy for someone else’s good fortune or success, without agenda or jealousy”. Isn’t that nice.

Nikki Britton is an actor and a comedian.



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