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An Invernessian in America: My second jag is a birthday gift worth waiting for

By Diane Knox

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Diane celebrated her birthday with her family.
Diane celebrated her birthday with her family.

Last week, I celebrated my birthday. Well, in this case, “celebrated” is a far stretch from the truth.

I’m now 38 years old. I have no idea why this one hit me so hard. I am aware that some of you may be reading this and thinking “38?! She has no idea”. But it’s all relative I suppose.

I’m using the term “society” broadly here, but there are idealistic ages and milestones attached to a lot of things in life. Comparison is, however, the thief of joy. And comparison is inevitable, even when you’re fully conscious you’re doing it and why it is so ridiculous.

A very large proportion of my friends, my old school mates, work connections and casual social media acquaintances who are of similar age to me are either engaged, married, pregnant or have a blossoming tribe of minis.

And when you see it every day, it’s sometimes a challenge to not let it detract you from your own, lovely life, however it may look. I go back to why that ‘mute’ button on social media platforms is one of my favourites!

I think it’s a nice reminder that everyone’s definition of “a happy, fulfilled life” is very different. I had to force myself to alter my mindset and remember, age is just a number… albeit an ever-growing number. But I ate a lot of cake, and that was definitely a positive.

In other news, I received the second dose of the vaccine this week and I can’t even begin to tell you how relieved I feel.

I’ve been reading a lot about Covid passports, or proof of vaccination before being allowed to travel to certain holiday hotspots, especially with the easing of some travel restrictions.

The thing about the vaccine is it’s voluntary – if you don’t want to get it, you don’t have to.

The PGA Tour, for example, sent a memo to players stating that while vaccination isn’t mandatory, it’s encouraged for all players and caddies, and those who do not receive it will still require testing each week at their own expense. Plus on-site testing at tournaments will cease in June. So without explicitly saying so, I think their stance on the vaccine is clear.

And for me, the thought of a Scottish holiday feels very much in the realms of possibility now.

Meanwhile, it’s good to see small businesses rejoicing – what a pivotal week in the return to normality for Inverness.

With the opening of shops, gyms, pools, salons and pubs after what seems like an eternity, it’s important to take stock on how challenging it’s been for the owners of small, local businesses.

Some have battled through, adapted where possible to scrape by but some have been forced to cease trading all together. If you’re a business owner reopening this week, I’m ecstatic for you. And I’m sure we all know owners of small companies who were forced to close for the last four months.

Now’s the time to go out and show your support.

Over here, I’ve made a conscious effort to shop local now more than ever, stopping myself from clicking on that Amazon tab and taking the time to research local businesses around me.

It’s the beginning of a long journey for some to recoup costs and get back to where they were pre-Covid, but what a relief to finally start.

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