2010 was an awful year for me. Just the mere memory of it is enough to induce the shakes and cause me to break me out in a cold sweat. From leaving the security of my 9 to 5, a disappointing stint as a freelancer, financial strains, and just the general uncertainty of my future – I was left me in a very scary and vulnerable place, one I’m in no hurry to return to any time soon. In 2011, things fared a little better. I was three months into a new exciting job, and although remnants of the previous year continued to haunt me somewhat, I began to pick up the pieces and rebuild my confidence, my credit rating and my naturally optimistic disposition, which had all taken a battering.
On the last evening of 2011 Rich and I threw an impromptu party, inviting a few close friends and family members to see in the new year with us. As the clock struck 12 we ran upstairs to our roof terrace and watched the fireworks explode over the Thames and surrounding areas of the city. I recall closing my eyes real tight (as others sloshed champers), and prayed for a 2012 filled with good health, restored friendships, exciting professional opportunities, spiritual growth and laughs, oh yes, plenty of good old fashioned belly ones. And you know what? I think I got what I asked for ten fold. It has to be said – 2012 was one heck of a ride for me. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t by any means perfect, but on the whole so many blessings have occurred in the last 12 months that I’m truly thankful for. So as we say goodbye to the year, here’s a recap of my top 5 highlights.
5. THE OLYMPICS IN LONDON CITY
If you’re not into sport and follow me on Twitter , you probably had to hit the unfollow button after my incessant tweets prior to, during and after the Olympic games this summer. I still can’t believe the biggest sporting event happened in my home town. I’ll never forget travelling through Stratford after work every evening and seeing every nationality, every creed and every colour walking through the station wearing their national colours, carrying their flags. London was on its best behaviour; there wasn’t a miserable person in sight on the daily commute, which as anyone who travels by tube or train can attest, is a very big deal. Read my Olympic highlights here.
4. RESTARTING THE COCOA DIARIES
After I landed my new job I was so tired of commuting from London to Witham, Essex that I couldn’t muster the energy to blog when I arrived home in the evenings, all I wanted to do was sleep. I decided it would probably be best to hang up my blogging boots for good. But I missed it so much that at the start of 2012 I decided to try and plan my time more effectively and start blogging again. I’m so glad I made the decision. I’ve enjoyed it immensely and plan to do even more in the new year. Thanks to everyone who has taken the time out to read, comment and share my posts.
3. CELEBRATING A MILESTONE BIRTHDAY
Jada Pinkett-Smith recently posted a bikini clad picture of herself bearing the title ‘Don’t believe the hype, we DO get better with age’. After reaching the milestone age of forty two months ago I wholeheartedly agree with her assessment. I don’t know what it is, but something has just clicked. Maybe it’s the awareness that 40 is kinda at that half way-ish stage in life (although I’m praying to the one above that I will live to see at least 100), I don’t know what it is. But I do know that I feel alive, optimistic about the future, extremely grateful (so many folks I know didn’t make it this far), confident, adventurous and proper badass. My fortieth birthday will be remembered as the year when I truly learned to celebrate the essence of living instead of moping feeling sorry for myself about getting a year older. Roll on fifty…methinks.
After a four year holiday drought I felt I had earned the right to a break and sheesh, it was one of the best decisions I’ve made this year. A seven day vacation to visit my in laws in Malaga turned out to be just the tonic needed for some R&R, family time and a renewed interest in travel. Jamaica is on the cards for 2013 to see my folks who I miss dearly, but I’m also keen to get in a few European breaks as well.
1. RECONNECTING WITH OLD FRIENDS AND FAMILY
For the last couple of years I’ve been wanting to reconnect with my old school friend Mandy, who moved to Boston during our last year of Primary school (which if you do the maths, was a heck of a long time ago). Mandy still has family in the UK so she would come over every few years to visit, but she hasn’t been over since the start of the new Millennium, and none of our mutual friends had heard from her or had her contact details. So imagine my joy when I received an email in March this year from an Amanda in Boston asking if I was her friend from England. She had googled me and got hold of my contact details from this blog (even more confirmation that restarting this blog was a good decision). We promptly got on the phone and spent the next few hours swapping stories and catching up on the events of the last 12 years. Mandy wasn’t the only old friend I heard from out of the blue. Another friend of mine, Hazel, had been MIA for a few years and bumped into a mutual friend of ours and we’ve met up twice since. I also saw my cousin Maz who lives in Birmingham and came down for the Olympics. I can’t recall the last time I had seen her, but again, it was definitely before the start of the new millennium. I’ve also shared plenty of laughs and fun times with my extended family on several occasions.
One the greatest gift I’ve received this year is the realisation that balance is essential to one’s well-being. For far too long I’ve pursued professional goals and achievements full throttle only to be left frazzled, empty and feeling inadequate when December 31st rolls around and I still haven’t completed that novel. If 2013 turns out to be half as fulfilling as this year has been, I’ll be one happy lass.
Happy New Year folks, see you on the other side!