I was worried that 2021 would be a rerun of 2020. Now I’m suddenly worried this year will bear no resemblance to my former life

It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment when I stopped being excited about the prospect of 2021. Up until a few weeks before Christmas, I was at least looking forward to 2020 being over, but I realised this was a bit like looking forward to flood waters finally receding: once they’re gone you’re left with a lot of ruined furniture and a foot of mud in your kitchen. The best thing you can say about 2021 so far is that the flood waters are still halfway up the bookshelves.

When I open the back door to walk out to my office in the mornings, I create an ever-shrinking wildlife ripple: pigeons and magpies lift off the ground in front of me, and land behind me. Squirrels retreat a few feet, and then circle back. The parakeets, I notice, are too preoccupied with attacking the bird feeder to stop what they’re doing. Soon I will be invisible to the animal kingdom, evanescent, unable to displace enough air to stir a feather.

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