And here it is, 2017, a brand new sparkly year, full of hopes and dreams of better things to come.
I’ve spent a lot of time (probably too much) over the past few weeks reflecting on 2016. Was it a good year? I decided it was pretty average, nothing spectacular happened, and only a couple of dreadful things happened. But then I thought about it a little more. Actually some amazing things happened – we went to our first Grand Prix in Barcelona, which in itself is a stunning city to visit, but add in a 3 day Grand Prix and it catapulted to one of the best weeks ever.
We’ve met some fabulous people during the year and developed some lovely friendships. Being in Portugal forces you to speak to people. You can’t always guarantee that the people you met last time will be here this time. Also, the way in which the bars are set up means you cannot get away with not talking to people. People, who if we were in Bristol, we probably wouldn’t talk to; possibly because we live in different parts of the city, or sadly, just because they don’t look like our cup of tea. In Portugal all of that goes out of the window, and the vast majority of people we have met this year have been bloody lovely! We met one couple (who I would now consider friends) over a cup of coffee, who have subsequently come to stay with us in Bristol and we are soon to visit them. We live pretty much at opposite ends of the country, and it’s highly unlikely we would have met them in England. This last week I’ve had a cold. I met a fabulous lady who gave me a natural remedy – hot water with lemon, ginger and cloves. She didn’t just give me the recipe, she also dropped off some spare ingredients she had. And I have to say, it worked really well.
I have always loved natural alternatives and even during my worst most painful times (including OFSTED doom) I always tried to find a natural way to get me through. This year I have discovered Kinesiology. I have the best Kinesiologist, Yaz, (actually my hairdresser’s mum) who is still completing her training, but I cannot recommend her highly enough. Basically, by moving different limbs of my body Yaz can find out where there might be blockages in my system. I never go to Yaz and tell her what I think is wrong, but wait to see what transpires. 90% of the time, Yaz has quite scarily picked up the area of my body that I would have said was not firing quite properly at that time, and it does freak me out a little, I have to be honest! The last time I went we did affirmations around my not being so scared of the world, because she picked up that emotionally I was a bit unstable – voodoo joo joo at it’s very best – and I loved it! Although I did feel a bit of a plonker repeating the affirmations out loud – but if you don’t try these things!!!!
The best thing about the second part of the year in particular is I actually stopped caring so much about what people think of me. I’ve spent far too many years worrying about fitting in and being normal. Sadly, much of that was probably made worse by being constantly observed during my last years of teaching. Are your lessons good enough? Is your marking informative enough? Are you using the right colour pen? (Red is too aggressive). Are your lessons engaging enough? This is not a reflection of any of the schools I worked in, but dictates from the government – but no matter how hard I tried, or any other teacher for that matter, it never seemed to be quite enough. I do not fit into boxes particularly well, and at the end of my teaching life I was a very Mr Messy peg trying to fit into a very boring and predictable square hole. At the end of the day I am not normal, nor do I fit in, never have, never will, in fact you might say I seek out the odd in life. A high spot was the yellow shoes. I was in a windband – the Longton/Fenton wind band, in fact. The uniform for concerts was black and white – why bother with that when you can wear bright yellow shoes. I recall my friend’s were an equally bright green! But somewhere along the way I lost that and I seem to have spent an awful lot of time over the past few years tying to be normal, to fit in and be accepted. But who wants to be remembered for being normal?
I’ve also learned that I am naturally very creative and I am actually quite good at it. It’s opened up a whole new direction in my life. It’s still very much work in progress: I have a million ideas of things I would like to make; I’d love to be able to sell the things I’ve made; I’d really like to write and have published a crochet pattern – or even a book filled with patterns. This is probably a tad unrealistic at the moment, but I have finally identified a focus and a direction. This has been amazing for me. To even acknowledge that I am good at something is pretty amazing in itself! To believe that I could even contemplate selling things I made is amazing – or the fact that anyone would even want to buy it. At my first craft fayre I made the grand total of £16, but it could well have been millions of pounds for the sense of accomplishment it gave me. I am a long way off making money from this endeavour – but I have realised that I do have to work at it. It’s not going to happen by magic but I have started to plan more effectively (I am not naturally a planner, so this is huge for me)!
Quite possibly the most unbeleiveable thing this year is from somewhere I found the gumption to write a blog post and actually publish it. This morning I read an article by Marc and Angel Hack Life, which said if you wait for the right time in life to do something it will probably never happen.
“Instead of saying “I don’t have what it takes” you must start saying “I can figure this out!” And by doing so, you’ll stop saying “I’m not ready yet” and you’ll start taking action because the new mindset is something along the lines of “I am ready to learn and grow!”
For me, life is generally scary and over the past few years I have let that fear get the better off me. So here I am, putting myself out there – it may not be perfect, there will probably be some successes, smattered with the odd hiccup along the way, but unless I try I will never know what I could have achieved.
But the best thing about 2016? For all but 4 days of the year (I went to Morcambe for the weekend) I have spent every day in the company of my husband – give or take the odd hour here or there. And days with him in are still the most sparkly of all.