Sunday, 21 January 2018

2017 Review....better late than never

I know I’m a bit late to the “2017 Reflection” party but life happens, work deadlines get closer, tiredness inevitably gets the better of me and before I know it, bam! January is drawing to a close.
But I refuse to let the month pass without sharing my thoughts for the last year.
When thinking about 2017 my initial reaction was “good riddance” (that’s the polite version of what I actually think). Without a shadow of a doubt it was one of the worst years of my life. Everything was fine until the end of March when we were dealt a bombshell piece of news. Shortly, (very shortly) after that the inevitable happened and my husband’s family’s lives were changed forever. And if that wasn’t bad enough, the following day I received a phone call from my mum which really would send my brain into utter confusion and disbelief; the death of another family member. Two in two days.

I had no idea how to cope, and 9 months on, on some days it feels like I still have no idea how to cope. The best that I can do on those days is to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forwards, safe in the knowledge that the bad day I am having will only last for 24 hours.

As I said before, my initial reaction to 2017 was one of “hurry the f@*k up and pi$s off because you’ve been absolutely sh!t”.

But actually, when I think about it, and if I purposely ignore the truly awful events of April, 2017 was pretty spectacular.

For one thing I took a beyond-amazing trip to the US with my husband and two friends for a 10-day road trip from San Francisco to Vegas, stopping at Napa Valley and Lake Tahoe on the way, taking in the sights of Death Valley and Bryce Canyon, taking my first helicopter trip and winning at he Roulette table in Vegas (Part 1Part 2Part 3).

I got to spend a weekend in the company of my childhood hero and first (and on-going) crush; Mr Luděk Mikloško when he came to visit Jersey (you can read the original post here).

I joined a Book Club and am enjoying the monthly meet-ups we have.

My husband and I took a city break to Copenhagen.

I scuba-dived for the first time (even though I was terrified at the time that I was being kidnapped by the instructor and that no one would know because we were under the water!!)

I saw a good friend of mine marry her very best friend and partner in crime.
I surprised my dad with a trip to Malta for Father's Day

I saw my cousin marry her soul-mate back in the UK.

I watched a meteor shower from the luxury of a hot-tub in the darkness that only the countryside can offer, and made a wish on a shooting star.

I did yoga on the beach, and also in the sea on a paddleboard!

I visited the Ecrehous and had an amazing picnic there. As my friend and I waited for the cab to pick us up once we were back on shore, we parked ourselves on the pavement/sea wall, opened a bottle of Prosecco and chatted about absolutely nothing. It was one of my most favourite days of the summer.

We had friends and family visit us which is always lovely.

We saw Olly Murs and Louisa Johnson at Jersey’s Gig in the Park.

We saw Ricky Gervais when he did a show in Jersey.

Along with friends we hired a boat for a 40th birthday celebration.

I had dinner with an old boss from my days working in London – I absolute love this guy and am in awe of him. My respect for him knows no bounds so it was amazing to see him again and have a proper catch up – it helps that he’s got a talent for picking out a good bottle of red from the wine menu, too.

I met a local Jersey artist whose work I absolutely love and I even worked on an art project with him as part of my firm’s CSR day. The project we worked on now hangs proudly in reception at my firm’s office. And if that wasn’t enough, I was lucky enough for my husband to buy me an original painting by that artist for Christmas.

So yeah, whilst two really shitty things happened to me and my family this year, that doesn’t mean I can’t be happy ever again, or acknowledge that actually, I did have a good time last year. And the fact I had a good time doesn’t mean I miss my father-in-law or aunt any less.

If I’m being honest that is what I was having trouble reconciling. In my mind being happy meant I wasn’t sad about having lost them. I thought that acknowledging that I had had a good time diminished the enormity and importance of their deaths. That looking back and smiling at the wonderful things that happened made me heartless and uncaring. That being happy because of, and about those good things meant I didn’t care about losing those two people from my life.

Does anyone else feel like that?

I know that none of those things are true though and that being happy doesn’t take away the sadness, devastation and absolute heartache I feel. I guess I need to get better at recognising when guilt is playing a cruel game and learn to bash it on the head and send it packing.

Perhaps the two deaths my, and my husband’s, family suffered last year should make me more appreciative of the good things in life, make me laugh more, smile more, enjoy life more, rather than me feeling as if I should never smile, be happy or have a good time, ever again. They say that life short. I learnt that the hard way last year. There’s nothing like the finality of death to make you realise how precious and fragile each and every day is. So, my aim for not only 2018, but for every single day that follows, is to truly appreciate the good things in life, no matter how small, because not every one is lucky enough to be here enjoying “today”, and not every one will be lucky enough to be here to experience “tomorrow”.

I don’t want to end on that sombre note, so I’ll share with you some of my favourite pictures from last year that made me smile…. 

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