Summer looks markedly different to how I’d originally envisioned it. A carefree pair of days at a secluded cabin with my sister and our pup. A sun-kissed long weekend abroad on white starry-sand beaches with my love. A Canadian road trip; our annual sibling holiday. Warm evenings pottering around the vegetable garden in mismatched ‘garden shoes’ 涼鞋, harvesting our first produce. Late afternoons reading, perched in front of our local favourite coffee shop, an almond flat white cooling just so. Us girls swarming down to the newest restaurant on our checklist. The Dream Team and I carefully rustling up picnic dishes for a London get-together beneath the smoggy skies.

Instead, I’m home. It’s cosy and kind of sweet. It feels nostalgic in ways intangible, in ways words can’t quite mirror. Once, I adored nothing more than staying home, wearing my favourite white dress and reading, playing Taylor Swift’s Speak Now album and Animal Crossing: New Leaf for days on end. I simply preferred it there.

Who would’ve known that 2020 would serve me all of this once more?

All too happy to do my part but staying home as much as I can, I’m racking up those book miles — the tokens, paperback books, stacked up against my wardrobe. I’m racking up the repeat listens of Folklore, anticipating the arrival of my album and merch. I’m racking up those Nook Miles too, and I’ve logged a considerable 900 hours on Animal Crossing: New Horizons. In a way, it feels like the universe has sent me full circle; I was supposed to lean into what I wanted all along. All along, there was nothing wrong with indulging my favourite hobbies and going somewhat against the grain.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is this: embrace all of the facets that make you smile. They make you ‘you’. Life — my life, your life — isn’t made for others, for clout. It doesn’t have to be aspirational, like I once thought, or ‘relatable’ as I once imagined. Nobody will walk in your shoes except from you, and one day you’ll tread the same steps and realise. You’re coming home to yourself.

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