2020, what a year. We’ve all said it, but if you had told me at the start of this year where I would be by the end of it, I wouldn’t have believed you. I started this year by starting my blog. Setting up my Twitter account to promote it. Sharing funny little dating tales with a few people, asking for advice when a guy ghosted. Writing some heartfelt pieces about someone that stood me up and I gave second chances to. Writing about another man who was wonderful, but messed up. Then the virus changed everything.

In early March I was carrying on a usual, working hard, partying hard, ignoring the news even as it became more serious and closer to home. I think I didn’t want to believe that we would be impacted the same way as other countries. The weekend before full lockdown, I was in Leeds visiting friends and it felt like something was about to shift. We had a sense that things weren’t going to be the same again. I bit the bullet and told a guy I’d been on two dates but had been in daily contact with that I wasn’t falling in love with him. I even said at the time that it felt like the world was ending and there was no better time to tell him. I knew he wouldn’t say it back. I knew. But I said it anyway. It helped me close a chapter in my head, a weight had been lifted. I had been honest.

Lockdown 1.0 hit the very next day. Monday nights announcement came as a shock, but there we were, staying at home and going for allocated exercise. Painting by numbers, completing jigsaws and discovering places I had never seen before despite living here for years. It was the first real break I’d had from work in years. Furloughed, no reason to contact anyone. Zoom quizzes, dressing up and not down, making new friends on Twitter. WhatsApp groups and online cooking classes. Glorious early spring sunshine. A heatwave. I was fitter than I’d ever been. At my lowest weight, happy, healthy and actually weirdly contented without being able to see anyone physically.

Speaking to online friends became more and more frequent. I had ditched the dating apps long before lockdown even began and I didn’t want to go back to them whilst I was in this headspace. I had spent years telling myself I was happy on my own, but also spent those years trawling the apps for men.

Maybe I needed the isolation to really understand the true meaning of being alone? To come to terms with it? To really, truly be happy in my own skin?

Whatever did happen, it worked. I had more confidence, I wasn’t concerned about being rejected for a DM slide. For picking up the phone and speaking to old flames to check in. I had a new found courage that I had previously only pretended was there. I was fearless in my approach, because what could I lose!? If I were to be rejected I would just end up as I already was, which was happy and alone. It was refreshing and almost like an epiphany.

The rest, as they say, is history. Girl meets Boy. Girl has some socially distanced dates with boy. We both had a lot of free time so we spoke on the phone incessantly. I truly believe that no one knows me better than he does, nor I him. It’s like we crammed a years worth of dates into 6 weeks, because we could. Things have move very quickly, because they could. The decision for him to move him wasn’t a difficult one, it was the easiest one I’ve ever made, because it just worked, made sense.

Of course it’s not all hearts and flowers, sharing your space with someone is exceptionally difficult, especially when you’ve lived alone for 10 years plus. The house is small, but it works. We compromise, we negotiate. We share the work load. We know how important the small things are.

There isn’t a day that he hasn’t brought me a coffee in bed since he’s been here. Even this week when I’m working and he’s not. We never go to sleep on an argument. We always stand up and give each other a hug when the other gets home. We always say goodbye with a kiss.

There are still millions of things we haven’t done, because we can’t. I haven’t met his friends and family due to incessant restrictions. We haven’t been on holiday together. We still have so many firsts to experience, and I cannot wait to do them, but equally I’m content in my little bubble in tier 4. I’m not annoyed I can’t go out tonight because I get to celebrate New Year with the man I love.

All because I learned to love myself first. And truly love myself. There’s nothing like your own company for 10 weeks to answer any tough questions you have about yourself. I know my flaws and I cherish them. I know my strengths and I adore them. Once you know that, there’s no stopping you. Believe me.

Take that chance. Write that message. Make that phonecall. Love yourself harder than you’ve ever loved anyone before. Start that new hobby. Cut those ties. Get rid of the toxic things you don’t need and just fucking live. Once you do, don’t ever look back.

So I finish this year the way I started it. Writing my blog. It’s cathartic, and a joy to know some people read my words. The start of 2021 looks like it could be tough, but lessons learned so far this year will help me. I hope you all have a healthy and happy new year. 💚

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