2017: ending my year intentionally

new year sparkler

I’ve never been one to set New Year’s resolutions – the reality of me is that I’ll last about 2 weeks before life gets in the way and I think to myself “I’ll keep going with that next week…. there’s always next week.”

because life does get in the way and 2017 has been no different

I had intended doing a blow-by-blow summary of my year, but then this post from Daisy on No Sidebar gave me the direction I needed to finish my year with intention.

1. What makes this year unforgettable?

2017 has been a year of loss.

The loss of dear friends… too many of them my age, which reminds you of your mortality and of the need to live every day as if it is your last.

My Boy’s diagnosis with ankylosing spondylitis…  a tough gig for a teenage boy to deal with, losing control to the pain that has become a daily part of life for him.

The Girl leaving home for the second time… letting one of my little birds fly free and marveling at just how comfortable she is with this change.

2. What did you enjoy this year?

The highlight of the year was definitely our trip to Fiji.  It came at a time when we all needed a break – physically, emotionally and mentally.  Ten days of family, good food, swimming, beach and, books.  Exactly what our hearts and souls needed.

3. What/who is the one thing/person you’re grateful for?

Miss L. who has been my sounding board for all things related to my Boy and ankylosing spondylitis.  Whether to cry about his pain or fist pump about a great day, she’s been there for both of us this year.

4. What’s your biggest win this year?

I pitched a job for myself to the Boss, and am loving my new role as the media manager at the school.  It was time for a job sea-change and I’m glad I had the balls to do it.

5. What did you read/watch/listen to that made the most impact this year?

It’s been a year of learning about minimalism for me.  The sites Becoming Minimalist and No Sidebar being the main ones, plus a host of others that I don’t keep track of, and the book “The gentle art of Swedish death cleaning” by Margareta Magnusson.  I’ve begun going through cupboards and crates and getting rid of things that no longer bring me joy.  It’s a process, and it will continue into 2018, and probably 2019 if I’m honest, but it’s a process I have been enjoying and intend to make a part of my everyday life.

6. What did you worry about most and how did it turn out?

The Boy was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis this year.  It’s rocked his world, and ours as a family.  The constant pain and fatigue that he’s been experiencing have had him (and me) in tears – literally.  And as a Mum, not being able to take that pain away has been bloody awful… it’s making me tear up as I write.  When all I can do is rub his back and cry right alongside him… it sucks.

But we’re a determined bunch.  Me – I’ve read medical journal articles until my eyes were blurry.  I understand this disease, from an academic perspective at least.  I know about the drugs used to treat, the alternative medicines that will help and how diet and exercise play an integral part in the spinal health of a person with AS.  We’ve found a brilliant GP who has set us on a path to health, and we’re feeling confident that with her guidance we can achieve some semblance of the life that was for my Boy.

From here it’s about educating him about how to manage this disease because we’re both determined that this disease won’t manage him.

7. What was your biggest regret and why?

Regrets?  I always struggle with the concept of regret.  Life is a lesson and if you’re smart, you learn from the mistakes – therefore no regrets.

8. What’s one thing that changed about yourself?

I learned to care more about me, and less about what others think of me.  I’m definitely a zero-fucks-given sort of gal.  In a polite way, of course!

9. What surprised you the most this year?

That I miss my Girl less than I thought I would.  When she moved to the Northern Territory it was hard.  It’s different this time though.  She’s not too far away, and we text and talk every day, so the only thing I’m missing out on is her cuddles.  Which makes them extra special when I get them, so win-win.

10. If you could go back to last January 1, what suggestions would you give your past self?

You are where you need to be. Just take a deep breath.

So that was 2017.  2018 looms.  There are plans.  It’s exciting and nerve-wracking and who knows what it’s going to bring.

but whatever it does, I’ll be ready

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taking stock #14

black and white beach and surfer photograph

so, life got away from me….

Taking stock is a month late. In between appointments with the Boy and getting the Girl moved into her new place, the truth is that I simply forgot all about it (even though I have a blog post calendar and ‘taking stock’ was clearly marked for last month!).

When I realized, I pushed it back on the calendar, because I really do enjoy these posts.  They’re a chance for me to look forward and back at what has been happening.  A chance to catch my breath, remember to eat the elephant one bite at a time and know that regardless of how much life gets away, I’ve still got a damn good one, and for that I am thankful.

So, a month late.  Here it is – taking stock #14.

Making: raspberry jelly.  Jelly has been my evening sweet treat lately – and yes, it’s the Aeroplane variety
Cooking: cooking….. arrrrgghhhhhh.  I. Am. So. Over. Having. To. Decide. What. Is. For. Dinner!
Drinking: water, water, and more water
Reading: Smith Journal.  I’ve started picking it up for my Boy because he enjoys the articles, and anything that can get a boy reading is worth buying
Wanting: another weekend on the coast with my Girl
Looking: for….
Playing: the iPod in the dock – music ranging from jazz and the 70’s through to gangster rap and electronic dance
Deciding: that enough is enough
Wishing: I lived closer to my nephews…. seeing video of their hijinks is great, but I’d love to be there in person
Enjoying: the quiet
Waiting: for our next appointment with our new functional medicine GP.  It’s so exciting to have found a medical professional who wants to help and heal you, rather than push pills or tell you it’s all in your head
Liking: that we still are having cooler nights
Wondering: if the weather will ever warm up though!
Loving: that my Girl has settled into her new life in her new town
Pondering: what next year will bring
Considering: the options
WatchingThe Vampire Dairies with my Boy.  Just about finished Season 1.  It’s fun sharing these shows with my kids now that they are old enough
Hoping: for a treatment plan that will halt the progress of my Boy’s disease
Marveling: at how the mind of our new GP works – you could see the cogs turning as she talked to us
Needing: a decent night sleep
Smelling: the raspberry jelly I just made!
Wearing: socks over feet rubbed with Happy Feet cream (it’s a mixture I make myself, and it makes my feet happy)
Following: the news
Noticing: how if I plan my top 3 priority tasks for the day, I seem to get a lot more done
Knowing: that there is always tomorrow to do more
Thinking: about how I haven’t dusted for a few weeks now.  Or ironed.  And how it’s bothering me but it’s not
Feeling: tired a lot
Admiring: the strength of women… mums in particular
Sorting: through stuff in cupboards…. still….
Buying: or bought. A new bed for the ‘spare’ room (feels so weird saying that!)
Getting: ready for after school pickup
Bookmarking: Dear Mama.  A photographic appreciation of motherhood.  Well worth a look for all mums.
Disliking: how this time of year gets so busy
Opening: a can of worms
Giggling: I told you last time… I don’t giggle
Snacking: on crystallized ginger
Coveting: the definition of covet is ‘yearn to possess’ and I really don’t covet anything… I have all I really want or need
Wishing: that it was next weekend already… my Girl is home for a few days
Hearing: the wind in the trees through the open back door

In the comments, I’d love to hear:

Do you ever get sick and tired of cooking!?

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leaving home: part 2

It seems like only yesterday that we were farewelling the Beautiful Girl on her first big adventure.

Since then she’s governessed, traipsed through Europe, lain on beaches in Fiji and slung beer and coffees to earn a living.

We all knew that it was really only a matter of time before she spread her wings and set out on her next adventure, but it hasn’t made it any easier.  There’s has been plenty of texts and phone calls each night.  We’re both adjusting to the new reality, and I find comfort in the fact that she’s only a three-and-a-half-hour drive away.  In a town with cafes and beaches, the perfect excuse to spend weekends with her, and make the most of when she comes home.

and so, the next big adventure begins…

the last night at home before leaving on her next adventure

a final sing along as the washing up gets done

moving boxes when leaving home

her whole life packed into boxes

loading the removal truck

loading up the truck

standing in an empty bedroom

one last look – with her friend Totoro in her arms – as she prepares to leave home for her next adventure

and yes, I have had to stop myself from getting in the car and driving to be with her….

In the comments, I’d love to hear:

Do you remember when you left home for the first time, properly?

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