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Look out beaches, breweries and basically anything that isn’t confined to 15 kilometres of home. I’m free and I’m comin’.

A long, cold Melbourne winter lockdown with no escape has taken me to the limit of my frayed sanity and I am impatiently preparing to swish barefoot through seawater, relax in a beer garden sipping crafty brews while nibbling twice, or even thrice-fried chips someone else has cooked, and oh what joy to be once again able to book a table somewhere, anywhere, and eat a dinner I don’t have to clean up afterwards.

Leaving the house and exploring Melbourne again is going to be a joy for many.Credit:iStock

Behold my spring frocks whimpering for attention alongside party shoes. Your time is close, my lovelies. You will be ironed and ready to frolic once again. Away with the furry slippers, runners, tattered leggings and t-shirts of lockdown wardrobe.

Hunt me down a hairdresser! Grey be gone, my coiffure will be foiled and fabulous, my lips painted a luscious red.

Dressed for best, I long to promenade, window shop, share the joy of others escaping the monotony of home-schooling and the endless Teams meetings which have replaced enlightening chats over coffee.

How nice it will be to once again hear the chorus of welcoming “good mornings” on entering our offices, somewhat reminiscent of the morning song of the lorikeets plundering my olive trees.

What fun awaits to sit on a rollicking train heading into Melbourne for a walk in one of the many splendid parks, such as the Royal Botanic Gardens.

But what do I miss most of all? Bakeries! Vanilla slices. Fresh bread baked by bakers who love their craft. I will circumnavigate Melbourne’s boundaries – double-vaxxed of course – to rediscover delights lost to those of us who live not in suburbia or the inner city but in outer areas where the closest shop is further than 15km away, forcing us to surrender variety to availability.

Art galleries, buskers, browsing through second-hand bookshops, all have been lost to us, taken for granted until no longer available. What fun awaits to sit on a rollicking train heading into Melbourne for a walk in one of the many splendid parks, or pausing to catch a breath after puffing up Collins Street, peering into the brilliantly festooned windows, so beautiful to look at while somewhat intimidating to step into.

So much awaits us, yet how will it feel I wonder, to once again experience the things I love and have missed along with the throng of lockdown escapees feeling the same loss and equally searching for the mental nourishment of freedom.

Will I embrace the crowds and excitement, or will overflowing rubbish bins and booked-out venues with harassed serving staff send me scurrying back home to value society and materialism from afar?

The pleasure of options is at the heart of freedom. Only when these options are removed do we realise their worth.

Frida Rowe is a freelance writer.

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