Cakes and Pains: a second helping

Captains log, day 54 in lockdown; calling it a “lock-in” in an attempt to make it sound more jovial and willing holds no more amusement. 

My quiz strike lasted a mere six days. Did you know an alternate name for a “burpee” is in fact a “squat thrust” and not “the devil’s foreplay” like I guessed? I am still confused as to what the real capital of Germany is and am impressed albeit surprised at how often Kevin Bacon has cropped up in my answers. 

I have baked alongside the nation and have tried to Amazon Prime a fillet of Turbot to make a mousse that looked a solid 10/10 on Great British Menu. 

I have had bi-weekly breakdowns which have made me question my sanity; I have therapised* my friends in an attempt to keep us both dry amidst the storm. I have pondered our (yes, I’m bringing you down with me), ability to live in the moment and have vowed to practice this more mindfully when it doesn’t come as second nature. 

*not a word.

“Dad…in this whole…pandemic thing, have you been thinking about the past? Like, do you ever think about mistakes you’ve made, or things you wish you had done differently?” I asked tentatively, after having relived the unsavoury memories of the past several years in just 1 week.

“No Chip. I don’t do that. When I think of the past, I think of the good times. Any mistakes I made, or any choices I made, there was reason for it at the time. I can’t change it if I’m not happy with the outcome, I can only try to learn from them and not make them again.”

I accepted this answer and changed the topic to our favourite sandwich fillings, this turned out to be inconclusive because to try and pick just one is near enough impossible. 

Later, I chewed over his answer and wondered why perhaps some of us forgive others so freely for mistakes, but berate ourselves for not knowing better or allowing ourselves to make blunders and simply learn. 

Perhaps because it is in those moments where our north star is hidden by clouds, we hit the big EJECT button for a quick escape, too scared to be lost for any longer and with a lacking sense of control. In retrospect, we shun ourselves for not succumbing to the vulnerability of asking for directions from the person holding the map.

What has been exposed during these times of lockdown, is the hilarity of a time where we thought we had any control over life. We were foolish and naive, to think anything was certain, to think we were the masters of our own destiny. We thought we had a sense of control over who we saw, what we did, where we’d go – all of which was taken away from us in what felt like a matter of moments. Maybe we mis-used our pleasures too freely, maybe it has fuck all to do with what we’ve done in the past; the only comfort we can take in this time where grief and precariousness is rife, is that everything is temporary – just as it was before.

We can’t expect our brains to chastise our anguishes from the past, anticipate the future but keep us resilient enough to deal with the now. By keeping one foot in the past, and one toe trying to reach for the future; we’re trying to do the splits, forgetting that we ain’t never been that flexible. 

Unfortunately, I don’t have the divine answer yet – alls I know for sure is nothing is certain apart from right now; so when you’re baking a cake, focus on making sure you can get that bitch to rise versus reliving prosperous life choices you battered. Sure, you’ve made mistakes, just like the other 7 billion people in the world – and don’t even get me started on the animal kingdom. But no-one other than you is expecting you to be perfect, so take some pressure off and live. 

Let’s worry about stuff when it’s there to be worried about – any extra effort is energy which would be better exerted laughing at a funny dog video or making a fucking cool needlepoint. It can be easier said than done I know, but let’s at least give it an extra hard try this week okay? Speaking primarily to myself here – but if you want to jump on this gravy train, I’ll give you a free season ticket.

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