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Seconds Out, Round Two: Thoughts on Second Chances, First Impressions and Another National Lockdown

Here Comes the Second Wave

Here We Go Again

So, in the words of Abba, here we go again, my, my…the second wave and with it the second national lockdown. Mamma Mia, indeed! I’m just wondering whether the fact that we have been here before means that it will be better or worse…

First time around, fear made us eager to comply with whatever crazy restrictions were imposed upon us. We dared not question it. On this second go-round, however, that fear has morphed into a weary resignation, heavily overlaid with criticism that we find ourselves here at all. BoJo could be in for a bumpy ride. I mean, just look at Europe kicking off….

Second Time Around

But aren’t some things easier second time around?

Childbirth…now there’s something that I am reliably informed gets easier the more times you do it. Second time around, my mum even had the presence of mind to grab a quick new year’s eve tipple, before expelling my brother into the world shortly after the midnight chimes.

Marriage…if it’s not easier, then it’s certainly more relaxed second time around. For starters, you don’t pin your entire future on that one person. Being older and wiser (one hopes) you enter that second, long-term, adult relationship not as two halves desperately seeking wholeness, but as two fully formed individuals bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge to the playing field (or wherever that metaphorical place is that couples come together in). And, while we’re on the subject, surely the wedding itself has to be easier. You are not going to stagger stiffly down the aisle for a second time looking like a cake decoration, so stressed by the day that you can’t possibly enjoy it until you have downed a whole bottle of champagne. Again, I could be wrong here….I’ve only been married once and I did that in a registry office and on a motorbike…and it still didn’t last.

If they’re so great, YOU wear them

Anyway, my point is that second definitely doesn’t mean worse. Second base, second dates and second interviews all smack of some degree of success! Maybe, in time, these lockdowns will become second nature to us. A second chance is always gratefully received and in the USA you can even marry your second cousin (though not your first, FYI). Actually, I’m not sure where I’m going with that line of reasoning, so I’ll just leave it there.

Second Best

“You’re my moon now…”

Of course, second isn’t always better. Coming second? Just ask Buzz Aldrin how good that is. Imagine how he felt on July 20th, 1969, pulling up the handbrake and duly switching off the lights on Apollo 11 only to turn and find Neil Armstrong gaily skipping out onto the lunar surface with his glib aphorism that would immortalise him for the rest of time. Talk about second fiddle!

First Impressions Last!

Yeah, I’m Top Dog…deal with it.

Let’s take it back to first principles. First is arguably the best place to be in a race or a competition. And I’ll bet you have a fondness for your very first car that you don’t hold for any of your subsequent vehicles. Similarly, can you remember the first time you travelled by plane? How good was that? Your first day at school? Your first love, at the tender age of six or seven? (Oh Philip B, where are you now?) Parents go ga-ga over baby’s first “mama” but then again are less enthralled when that same being releases its first swear-word eleven years later. Clearly, therefore, it comes back to context. First isn’t necessarily best. There are plenty of things, like sex, which get better the more you do it. Sadly, though, locking-down is unlikely to be one of them.

A Once in a Lifetime Deal

Hello? I’m feeling better now…

On the other hand, there are also a few specific things you never get the chance to do over: making a first impression …the loss of innocence…death. Maybe we should just be grateful to be here at all. Maybe second time around we will get it right. Maybe second time around we will make it count. Then again, perhaps the only thing we will be counting is our stacks of toilet rolls as we repeat the chaos of spring. I guess, it’s up to us, as individuals, to see if we can make anything about this second time worthwhile.

So, here we go again: deep breath in everyone as we dive head-first into the second wave. See you all on the other side, poorer probably, wiser hopefully and possibly a little bit closer to that all important finish-line.

When you’re as old as me, you’ve seen it all before anyway.
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