As the long Christmas and New Year holiday has now come to an end, how many of us found that our plans worked out as expected? I hope loads of you.
But I suspect many, many plans went truly awry. It has not been a good year.
It starts, of course, with Covid. We could never have guessed, back in early 2020, that it would still be affecting us three long years later.
We have all missed out over this time, some of us in small ways, but many of us in large ones. We have missed weddings and funerals. We have missed seeing those we love. Not to mention many planned holidays or even weekends away.
People talk now of a post-pandemic era, but that is not remotely true. Not only is Covid raging in China, but it is making itself felt all over the place, mostly in lesser forms and with fewer deaths.
In the last week, I have learned of five people I know who are down with Covid. Most cases are not serious, but it must be noted that some people are still dying.
There are also some nasty colds about as well as flu.
And although there are fewer official restrictions, most of my friends are still being very careful. Many holiday plans were affected – the family lunch cancelled, the outing missed, the visits not happening.
You cannot turn on the television these days without seeing astounding pictures of snow and ice in the US and Canada and, doubtless elsewhere. I don’t need to tell you that this affected a huge number of flights, not to mention other forms of transport.
Family visits, travel elsewhere to ‘get away for a break’ and many other trips were all affected.
And some of those who managed to get away are still struggling to get back home.
Just when you might have thought that enough was enough, many of us had had the extra problem of strikes.
I am not so familiar with what is going on in other countries, but in the U.K. we are back to a merry-go-round of strikes. Nurses and ambulances are the most worrying, but there are many more, not least railway, bus and underground (subway) workers. Not to mention the border force who can affect anyone travelling into or out of the country.
Planned visits as well as planned operations (and all the attendant plans to help the person having the operation), all postponed.
For every plan un-made, there are always some consequences, some minor but also some major. It is not only the person travelling who is affected.
What to do with all the food we bought, given that our guests didn’t come? How can we find some food for the period, since we didn’t go?
And there are even deeper problems. It is not simply a missed Christmas dinner. How will we be able to see Aunt Mary, whose prognosis is not good?
I am told that there is an old Yiddish proverb about God laughing at plans, popularised in a Woody Allen film where he said, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.”
I am not about to launch into a discussion of the nature of God, but there is some truth in this proverb. We like to think we are in control, but so often we are not. So many unexpected things can get in the way.
My plans for this holiday period were very limited in scope: to do a small Christmas lunch with family who live fairly close by (yes, accomplished), to sing with choirs on four different occasions (of which I managed only one, due to problems at my end) and to do a lot of writing (just didn’t happen).
I can’t say that I know how it feels to wait at the airport for hours, only to be told that the flight was cancelled.
But I have not had the holiday I planned.
Were your holiday plans affected this year? Were you going to visit someone or were they coming to you? Did you miss out on something important? How did you handle your failed plans?