December 30, 2013 by talkaboutyork
I know that for many people, a new year is simply that. A new year. But I always like to take some time reflecting on the year gone and planning for the year ahead. I think there are certain types of people who do this, and then there are those that just live in the moment. I wish I was the latter but I’m a thinker. I mull. I contemplate. I dream and I plan. So I can’t quite believe it was a year ago that I posted this review of 2012. And now another year has passed.
2013 has been a very strange year – a year of two halves.
I started the year full of vigour and ideas on what work I wanted to do. I wrote a business plan for a business concept I thought had a great deal of merit. I still think the idea as merit, but I guess part of writing a business plan is trying to figure out whether there is money to be made in the idea. And from what I could tell, it was a hugely capital intensive risk with a poor chance of making a profit. So I parked the idea.
Then I turned 40. I had a fantastic birthday and a brilliant trip to Dubai with old friends. While there, I decided to capitalise on the writing course I had recently completed by deciding to write a novel. Which I did. Seventy thousand words in four months. I wasn’t pleased with what I had written. It was too auto-biographical. The story was trying too hard to be different things and not really being anything. Feedback I received from an agent at Britmums made me second guess it. I decided to take the summer holidays off before considering a second draft.
We had some fantastic holidays and trips over summer, a sailing holiday in Turkey, going to Cowes Regatta, trips to Whitby and just plenty of getting out and about in York and Yorkshire (I can tick that new year resolution off – I have definitely explored this year!)
By August I felt as though the year I turned forty was going pretty brilliantly, despite ongoing battles on the frontline of parenting, some funny, some mortifying, some poignant and some making me want to resign as a parent because I feel like a big fat failure. My new year resolution of looking fab by forty sort of worked and then was ignored so that by the time summer came, trying on swimsuits was a challenge. But on balance, all was going well.
And then the wheels came off.
I cannot write about it. But suffice to say that all the plans I had for the remainder of the year were put on hold.
I didn’t rewrite my book or get on with another business plan. Everything went into limbo.
I travelled to South Africa to spend some time with my family, which was much needed. Late October we had a family holiday to Cornwall and in early December we were lucky enough to escape to Abu Dhabi for a child-free break, which was fab despite the childcare logistics involved.
It was a year filled with travel, which sounds fantastic. And indeed, I am privileged to have had the opportunity to travel quite so much. But on balance, it hasn’t been a good year.
I had to go through some crappy times. I also managed to upset some friends along the way by having strongly held opinions (and sharing them) on things I feel passionate about, for which I am sorry. We’ve had a sad Christmas due to my mother in law being ill. I feel as though I have completed nothing I started and am none the wiser about what to do next. I feel like a small boat adrift on a large pond, with no-one steering, just being blown by whichever gusts come scudding across the water.
But I am determined to take the helm in 2014 by doing this:
- I’m going to go back to work – whether that is in employment or self-employment
- I’m going to write if and when I feel like it because I want to, rather than because I feel I should
- I’m going to value what I am, rather than what I’m not.
- I’m going to shout less (taking a leaf out of the Orange Rhino challenge book) which I am sure my children will appreciate.
- Laugh more
And if one good thing has come out of this year, it is realising some things about myself which I never knew before:
- I am resilient
- I have a strong moral compass
- I am a narrator of life and I’m not going to apologise for it (even though many people think it is weird, this blog post included)
So that was the year in a nutshell. We are ending it as a family, going on a micro-adventure (in pretty wild weather) to the North Yorks Moors involving a walk, a steam train, pocket knives and compasses, an overnight stay at a youth hostel, rock pooling and fossil hunting in Robin Hood’s Bay, beach fire making and marshmallow roasting while the sun (should we see it) sets on 2013.
I am grateful that I have a family to do this with, my health to enjoy it and the freedom to have this experience. Many people have none of these things. In contrast to many, I am blessed. Perhaps I should add practicing gratitude to my list of resolutions…
Wishing you a very happy 2014.