Looking for my lost year

Photo by Lucian Alexe on Unsplash

Monday nights phone playdate with Winter started with her making Joey a birthday card for his birthday on Friday. How many candles should I put on the cake, she asked. I told her 57. He got 17.

As I recanted this story to Joey on Tuesday, he said, you mean 58, I’m going to be 58. The world kept spinning, but I didn’t. Are you sure? I’d been happily believing that I turned 46 back in December for quite a while. He mentioned some insanity about “doing the math.”

A little bit about me. I’m a writer who loves numbers, logic, and dare I say math, which I routinely do in my head “for fun.” We are a rare breed I learned early on in college as others bemoaned their mathematics requirement and I lazily rolled in for Friday morning quizzes in PJs and often hungover — did the test, handed it in and bolted until the next week. Despite all this, the professor followed me out one day into the hall and asked why I was taking his basic class and wasn’t a math major, before asking if would I consider it.

I immediately ran upstairs to my office and frantically searched for my calculator — clearly unable to trust my brain cells. Well, fuck. He was right. I had so many questions. Frankly, I still do.

If there is anything to blame for this, it is the year 2020. I went to Florida in February and the next thing I remember was driving to Ohio to get Winter for a week — which was almost one year later, according to the calendar. The pandemic stole a lot from us all, and I’m certain that’s where my missing year went. I know a lot happened between those two events — work was crazy, we barely left the house, we met neighbors we had never seen before, we bought board games and redid the kitchen, mask fashion became a thing, and we suffered a lot of losses. Some things I’d like to bring back, like one-way grocery aisles and single queue lines were no one talked to each other but bitched about the line being long, “but moving pretty quickly” muttered in acquiescence.

Perhaps it is my own reluctant acquiescence that no one year will be better than another. That normal is a perception often not shared among large groups of people. I’m tired of masks but I have found I kind of like them — it reduces my allergies, they are warm when it’s cold, and no one can see me muttering things to myself. I do miss lipstick on a regular basis, but have decided I can wear it anyway. The rules have flown the make-up kit.

Speaking of which, I recently saw one of those “articles” explaining what women should stop doing in their 40s… you know things like long hair, wearing flip flops, and wearing too much make up. Really? The only thing women in their 40s should stop doing is reading lists that make you feel like shit.



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Nikki Barr

Nikki Barr


Normal human in an extraordinaire world. Memoir / Humor / Just Life