Lockdown - how did I despise thee, let me count the ways.
One - you forced the closure of cinemas, my favourite things in the world. If I'm not at the cinemas at least once every week I start to lose grip on my own personality. I'm a girl who needs her big screen movie fill, and I was starved of that for months.
Two - you separated me from my grandparents. My nan and pop are the best, but I wasn't able to visit them during lockdown. Living in Fairfield - which was one of the biggest hotspot areas of the Delta crisis - meant it didn't even feel safe heading to the shops, much less stopping by for a compassionate visit.
Three - you made me think rolling out of bed five minutes before work started was normal. I am a person whose body clock skews late. When I didn't have to get up early to head out of my suburb for work, and I didn't need to do more than pull comfy clothes only slightly fancier than my PJs of a morning, there was no incentive for me to rise earlier than about 8.58am. Now that the world is returning to normal, my body clock is more confused than ever and I'm running on about five hours' sleep as I try to retrain myself.
Four - you let me get used to a world without terrible drivers on the road because I didn't go anywhere. Now that I'm back in civilisation, my patience for those who cut in without indicating or waving thanks has grown even thinner.
Five - you ended. Revealing my true Gemini nature here, as much as I love lockdown being over, I also miss some of its conveniences. My introversion was well fed. My bank account was thrilled not to be eaten into by fuel costs and random impulse purchases at lunchtimes.
My favourite stories this year
Like many people, I found Masterchef Australia to be something of a lifeboat during lockdown, both this year and last.
The program never ceased to show up and fill me with warm and fuzzy feelings.
From the delicious foods to the cast of Aussie contestants who genuinely got on with each other and were actually nice people, Masterchef Australia just had something about it that made me feel, briefly, like the world outside was totally okay.
Justin grew up right here in Campbelltown, spending time at our local shops ("Mac Square - that was my hood") and movie theatres ("Dumaresq Street is the best cinemas in the world").
A goofy, talented mid-20s guy so many of us could relate to - he was just the TV champ we needed to bring us a little joy in difficult times.
As the end of lockdown approached and everyone in Sydney was getting ready to celebrate their freedom, something else popped up on my radar.
The state government released the environmental impact statement for the long-gestating plan to raise the wall at Warragamba Dam in a purported effort to reduce flood risk to communities in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley downstream.
This project, if approved, will see hectares upon hectares precious Blue Mountains World Heritage Area land inundated with water - with countless Indigenous sites, threatened ecological communities and more set to be massively impacted or wiped out.
This huge project is opposed by a tonne of different parties, including Wollondilly Council, which held an extraordinary meeting where all councillors voiced their strong condemnation of the plans.
Councillor Matt Gould spoke passionately, highlighting the many and varied issues in the EIS, something anyone uncertain on the project should listen to.
This story is far from over, and the council's resolute and resounding opposition cannot be ignored.