The act of burning cards in poker is fascinating when you stop and think about it. I’ve had some explosive nights playing that game, the sort that tested friendships over the sake of less than £50 prize money. The outcome of those evenings (and the subsequent time after) could have been totally altered if the cards burnt hadn’t been removed from the equation.

Life feels a lot like this right now. I’m having to train myself to recognise the small victories and accept that continuing to be productive doesn’t always amount to an immediate sense of accomplishment. Piece by piece is the only way to complete a puzzle.

I have WandaVision to thank for my mind being on the concept of multiverses and altered realities, but it did dawn on me at some point mid last year that the pandemic had not only disrupted our day to day life, the collective scale has changed our trajectory. It’s one thing to reach a fork in the road in your own life, or have other people’s crossroads cause a knock on effect, this all feels more like a swirl of possible futures to me than just watching dominos fall.

Like most, I haven’t had a lot to report on these past few weeks. My coping strategy for 3.0 has been head down, in a routine, somewhere between ignorant bliss and denial. Only just coming up for air in the last couple of days has the realisation hit me that it’s been six weeks. A unit of time I’ll always identify as “the same as the Summer holidays”. If you don’t count the knife-edge reprieve that was December, we’ve been at this for almost four months in the dark.

It would be disingenuous to suggest that I didn’t take days for granted in the 32 years of my life that preceded all this. They’re lather, rinse, repeat more than ever before now and though I can’t lie, there is a part of me that is relieved at not being entirely responsible for the limitations placed on the extent to which I can make the most of the day, I’m also fighting an urge to be more bold.

Out of necessity more than an intentional wallow, I found myself deep in the archives of my ageing external hard drive over the weekend while backing up files to a new device. I got caught up in moments of my life and it was a shattering snap back to reality when I eventually came down from the residual high of times long past. I’ve been largely ok with the restrictions we’re living in, yet in contrast you notice the lack of colour.

It’s a novelty to think where we all might be today, had we not lost the past year. We’ll never know what that would’ve looked like, but the unseen card is just as important to the hand we’ve all been dealt.

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