Letters From Lockdown 79: Leah Quinn

We’re back, pals.

It’s my birthday today. I mean it’s not (when I’m writing this) but, when this goes out to all your lovely folk on the 13th November, I will be… older. Sounds dumb. We’re always getting older. But I will be a whole 365 days older than I was a whole 365 days before. Mad.

I’ve never had a birthday in lockdown. I know it’s hardly ground-breaking now because all you Spring birthday folk suffered through this last time we locked down. And I applaud you, more than me. Because back then, this all felt a lot newer and more frightening. Now, it just feels like a nuisance. A reoccurring, irritating, totally necessary but really-we-should-have-got-a-handle-on-this-sooner-shouldn’t-we-Boris inconvenience.

I won’t get into the horrible real-life things like redundancies and businesses going under because they’re awful, and we hear about it all the time, and honestly it makes me angry. What I am going to focus on is some good things from this year to celebrate the changing from my 365 days as a twenty-two-year-old to my 365 to a (I’m imagining a drum roll) twenty-three-year-old. Exciting stuff.

I am grateful that I finally gave up on a fuckboy.

I am grateful that I got to meet up with an old ‘friend’ and, while I think we respect it each a lot, I felt nothing. There’s power in that.

I am grateful that I got out of that godawful waitressing job.

I am grateful I got a 9 to 5. In a school. Where I could wear work clothes. And where I met some of the best young people that I have ever met. I hope they’re all well despite this palaver. I can hear them now asking – Miss, what’s a palaver?

I am grateful that job keep me able to pay my rent through Lockdown 1.

I am grateful for all the time to write and all the time to read and all the time I spent sitting in my garden in the sun and all the time I had to ruminate on where I want to be and how I get there.

I am grateful I got that scholarship. Scratch that. I am still overwhelmed I got that scholarship.

I am grateful I met you.

 I am grateful for all the writers and academics and journalists and publishers and people I’ve met. I am grateful for the ways you inspire me. For the ways you continually remind me I’m good at what I do. I am grateful that I genuinely think, after this whole teeny tiny pandemic issue, we’ll be able to hang out like actual real-life friends.

I am grateful that, despite this godawful year, so far I’ve been really lucky. I’m hella tired. And hella excited. And why am I so obsessed with the word hella nowadays?

On that note, Ima pour myself a hella glass of wine, order a takeaway and let’s kick off that Zoom ‘party’. Because what else can you do on a birthday in lockdown.

Shout-out to my awesome housemate because I know she’ll try really hard to make my birthday special.

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