Monday 2 January 2017

2017, here I am (Or, 2016 wasn't all bad)

2017 is finally here. And I'm here with it.

The geeky side of me feels like 2016 is a much more satisfying number BUT maybe it's time for a prime - time for something a little different, a little unique.

And as has been said thousands of times, 2016 wasn't exactly golden in many ways. But in other ways of course it was. There were miracles and promises and new life and adventures and the plodding-on-faithful-sort-of-love just as there was disappointment and death and departures and sometimes despair. Like in any other year.

For us, as you already know, there's been rather a lot of change.

We began the year still reeling a little from the decision to leave Cornwall and move to Hatfield not working out as expected, trying to decide what to do and where to go next. Life was a bit of a blur of commuting and work in the London office, learning to manage more projects and more people.  I got to work with my younger sister for a few months, which was brilliant! And signalled a year in which I saw my family more frequently, as we all relocated and ended up living less spread out across the country. Hooray.

April kicked off a summer of some amazing travelling. Trips to New York, Lisbon, the Lake District and France were definite 2016 highlights for me and perks of a well-paying job, and I'm so grateful we were able to - especially in our 30th-birthday year. I won't forget how happy I felt at that poetry/jazz night in Manhattan, exploring the beautiful castles of Sintra, introducing hubby to England's finest lakes and hills and jumping into sparkling rockpools with my sister-in-law (see the pics below).

There was summer in The City, with a 3 month spell in Camden: finally leaving Hatfield which I sadly did not learn to love. (Although I'm very grateful for the dancers and artists we hung out with during our time there, they kept us alive). Then, in the midst of cycling to parks, vegan cafes, live music, more sister time, reuniting with some old friends and trying to keep our studio/room rat, fly and mosquito free (!) we decided to make the biggest change yet - for me at least - leaving my pretty amazing job at Small Axe and returning to Brighton.

There's different ways I can tell the story because there's a whole bunch of reasons. I had gotten myself pretty stressed and anxious and knew in my bones that I needed a break or else maybe I in some way would break. In view of turning 30 I wanted to really give my writing and photography and other creative areas a 'proper go'. We needed community. We already had one in Brighton. We were tired of starting again. If I'd spoken out a bit sooner about the messiness going on in my head, if our Landlord gave a bit more of a damn, if we'd found a church we felt at home in, if London wasn't so expensive... maybe we would have stayed. But none of that happened, and here we are, and I think it's good.

There's definitely been ups and down over the past few months. "I'm winning and feeling like myself again at last" moments and "What the hell are we doing" moments. I celebrated my birthday many times over, I became an Auntie, I've signed up to do a show at the Brighton Fringe. I've spent way too long on job applications for jobs I didn't really want and have spent a whole bunch of time away from my hubby. We've been hosted by very kind family and enjoyed each other's company... and Grumpy-Kat-who-needs-some-space has also surfaced too often. Generally I feel like mentally I'm in a way better place but then occasionally I'll fall to pieces over nothing. We have no idea when we'll be able to move into our own space. I found a job that fits this season. We've felt lost in familiar spaces and we've felt at home. We feel different and the same. We don't know where we fit yet. We are among friends.

As my amazing friend put it recently, it's hard to write when you're feeling too many things, when everything is changing, when what seems true one day has faded the next. It's hard to give a fully honest picture. But that's what I'd like to do, and writing more regularly is probably the best way to do that. I won't promise anything, I'm trying to find reasonable resolutions/intentions for this year that still allow me to be kind to myself, while also moving forwards into a healthier more creative space.

But here we are anyways, at the brink, and I'm feeling more hopeful and excited about this year than I have for many January's. I'm grateful for that. I know time and dates are all just numbers but I'm glad for them. Glad for the chances to draw lines in the sand, imagine clean slates and other cliches. It's important for our sanity and survival, I think.

So here's to 2017, here's to hope, and here's to you: may it be the best one yet.

X x x

New York New York!

One of the many stunning castles in Sintra, Portugal

Walking over Loughrigg, Lake District

Pretty proud of this jump

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