So here we are. Moving along the last furlong of 2018. We are galloping towards the close, and like many of us this time of year, I start reflecting. I find myself suddenly caught by a memory from somewhere within the last year, that, depending on the memory, brings a little smile, a swell of my heart, or, a flutter of panic. I like it though. I like looking back at what the year has brought. So, as I do every year, (last years was here) I thought Id share my little summary with you. The Roses and Thorns of 2018.
I always like to finish on a positive, so lets get the horrible bits out of the way first. The start of the year Nik was still on chemo. He was receiving daily chemo, up until the end of March this year. During this time, I remember that I felt like I was clinging to a life raft. Literally, clinging on by my finger nails, desperate to keep my head above the waves of fear crashing over me at times, threatening to pull me under. I was so positive, but also so terrified. In a lot of ways, we take our invincibility for granted don’t we. When that is rocked, the cracks, like veins, travel upwards and spread, threatening your very foundation. You can feel incredibly upbeat one minute, overwhelmed the next. Its a hell of a ride!
Cancer is also a very personal journey. I could support Nik in the way I thought but I couldnt understand what he felt, what he needed, what he wanted to help him cope. I felt helpless. Added to this, you have the worry of protecting your kids. Although our boys are not babies, you never want to burden your kids do you, so I was always positive and strong around them on the surface. Its a pretty lonely place at times. Still, that was then, this is now. We look forwards only.
I had a visit from my old friend anxiety for a few months this year too. That was a shock to me as I had learnt to deal with that part of my character a long time ago. I had a couple of months where I felt absolutley knocked on my arse. I was second guessing everything, questioning every decision I was making, comparing myself to others, beating myself up over anything and everything, feeling like I didnt know what I was about, all those negative and crappy thoughts that serve no one but destructon. It took a lot of strength and soul searching to figure out what it was all about, which thankfully I did. I know myself, inside and out, so I was able to figure out what triggered me, work through it, and come out the other side. Funnily enough, I always feel so much stronger once I have come through it. I believe everything is sent as a lesson, and I realised that I had a lesson I needed to learn during this time. I had slipped back into some destructive behaviour that was not healthy. I acknowledged the lesson, I changed my behaviour, and moved forward.
Obviously, the first thing I am going to say here is Nik finishing chemo and getting his first clear scan. It was everything. People don’t often see the other side of grade 4 cancer. Cancer has changed us, in far more ways than I can even tell you, but it has in many ways changed us for the better. Does that sound weird? It was a huge wake up call. All the silly, mundane things that we used to worry about, we just dont anymore. All the materialism and chasing of “stuff” does not feature in our lives anymore. We want to live healthier, live in gratitude, live more mindfully.
Many of the changes that it has brought into our lives, (apart from physically for Nik) have been positive. Let me try to describe it. You know that scene in the Wizard of Oz film, when Dorothy arrives in Oz? When she steps out of the crashed house and the film goes from black and white to beautiful, crisp, clear colour and beauty? Thats just how I feel. Its almost like the world is more colourful somehow. Iv woken up in my own Munchkin Land!
My blog has also been a huge good thing this year, and I have spoken about it in this post, My blogging year round up. It has at times been the saving of me, and I will love it, and you my readers, forever for that. The kindness shown to me by you has at times floored me. I feel so supported x The people Iv met, the knowledge Iv gained, the opportunities Iv had. I just love it
Travel. Adventure. Experiences. My goodness we have made the most of being able to get away again. Nik and I have travelled together since the day we met 26 years ago. We had known each other just 9 weeks when we set off around the world with our backpacks. This year we have been able to spread our wings again. When we visited Salzburg earlier this year, our first trip since Nik had got unwell, I felt so emotional. We had such an amazing time, and knew how lucky we were to be there together. After that came Cape Verde, then a climb up Ben Nevis, a trip to Portugal, a winter break in Prague as well as a couple of staycations in the UK. We have a list as long as our arms where we hope to head to in 2019, so of course, I will share our travel tales with you.
When I look back over this year, I see it as the year of change. So much changed. These changes were mostly internally for me. My mindset changed dramatically. I have decided to say no more often. I decided that only the people that value me will get my time. I decided that I wouldnt be the one to sort out everyones troubles anymore. I decided I’m not wasting time. Life is too short to accept negativity. I want to surround myself with positive people. People who crave and live life. People who count their blessings instead of listing their troubles. I think when something dramatic happens in your life, you notice more, you see more. But you tolerate less! To be a total blogger about it, and coin a cliche phrase, its “good vibes only” ……….(I know, I know, I’m sorry, I said it, I went all “blogger-esque, I will sit on the step and think about my actions)
Life has a way of leading you where you are meant to be. Im not sure that I believe that life is mapped out, but I do believe that what is meant for us wont miss us. I trust that wholeheartedly. We don’t understand some of the steps, some of the steps make us roar in frustration, cry out in anguish. The best advice I can give you, is enjoy the journey, the destination will reveal itself eventually.
So, now I would love to know something that 2018 has revealed to you. Or one word that sums the year up for you? Anything at all that has stood out for you. Let me know! My word for this year, change. And I blooming like it!
Thank you so much for being with me again this year.
Happy Christmas to you all, and may 2019 reveal all the beautiful colours of Munchkin land, in the magical land of Oz