THE world is still turning and slowly I’m emerging from my self-made cocoon. Not quite the bold and beautiful butterfly bursting forth from its chrysalis – parts of the reluctant caterpillar remain – but I am tentatively spreading my wings.

I have found this current time to be the strangest and most tricky to navigate during lockdown. It’s a bit like playing a game of Snakes and Ladders where you’re not quite sure if a roll of the dice will mean advancing or tumbling back to the same squares on the board you’ve passed before.

All of us are blindly feeling our way through uncharted territory. In that sense, I’m trailing at the rear of the pack, carefully picking my path, being ultra-cautious, as the more gung-ho rush towards the wide plains of freedom.

There are blurred lines – despite the many precise and clear instructions – as we each traverse this murky hinterland where the coronavirus still lurks.

Having vowed to stop wrapping myself in cotton wool, I began this new phase in predictably foolhardy fashion when I stepped on a rusty nail. It pierced the sole of my plastic gardening clogs (yes, I wear clogs now), went through a thick woolly sock but mercifully didn’t break the skin.

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Even so, I have spent an inordinate amount of time Googling “tetanus” and wondering if every sudden twinge or achy, stiff muscle signals the impending onset of lockjaw when it’s probably just fatigue from being hunched over a computer screen looking up troubling symptoms.

My tendency to postpone countless tasks in recent months – like putting off cleaning the gutters in case I fell and became an unnecessary burden on the NHS – came home to roost last week when heavy rain saw an ominous brown watermark stain appear on the bedroom ceiling.

It’s a pest and unwanted expense, yet I can’t find the energy to be annoyed. Oddly, it feels like a much-needed nudge to make sure I’m doing something after all the inertia.

I talked with a friend about the importance of setting milestones in the weeks and months ahead. Nothing too grand. I’ve booked an appointment with my hairdresser to sort out the two-tone roots and raggedy split ends. In time, I will sit at a restaurant table and order a meal.

Everyone has undergone some form of metamorphosis. It’s perhaps not the one we imagined back in March when grand plans for self-improvement were widely mooted.

I’ve yet to be greeted in the new language that so many people claimed to be learning during lockdown or serenaded by the musical instruments they promised to master. No one has toned abs from doing PE with Joe Wicks (well, apart from Wicks himself).

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If anything, we are less polished versions of our former selves and I draw a strong kinship from how many of us now wear clothing with elasticated waistbands. There’s a feeling of life being softer around the edges. And guess what? I don’t hate it.

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