2017. What a flippin year it’s been!
I can’t lie and say I haven’t been counting down the days until it’s over, I can’t lie and say I’ve tried to make the most of every day, I can’t lie and say I’ve not woke up some mornings and just wanted to stay where I am and let the world pass me by.
But here I am. I’m still standing.
Let’s round up 2017 quickly, I started off the year working in a job I absolutely hated but going in each day sticking a “grin and bear” it face on. I began having little panic attacks but kept it quiet and didn’t tell a single soul. It became my biggest mistake as that led to my breakdown in May, for four months I couldn’t work and when I did decide I was ready to go back, I decided I wanted to go back to care work, I resigned, found a care job that offered promise and potential, only to last five hours as it was appalling, it was so bad, I couldn’t even work there until I found something else. A month and a bit passed and I was still looking for work.
During that period of time, the woman I have regarded a Mother figure since the age of 17, my baby girls beloved Nanny was diagnosed with terminal cancer of the lungs and a week later, a dear School friend was diagnosed with the disease too, this time in the stomach. Losing Pam in October was and still is, heartbreaking. There’s no pain like it and it’s true when they say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. There’s a Pam shaped hole in my heart and I’d give the world to be able to hug her and thank her for everything she did for me for almost 18 years. Stacey is still fighting on, she made it to Christmas with her babies which was her goal and although time is against her, somehow she fights on. I’ve spent every day since their diagnosis wondering why them? Two people who have never harmed a soul. Why?
Obviously having no wage for just over five months put a huge financial strain on Paul and I. Not on our relationship, that only ever strengthens by the day, but it put strain on the financial side of life. It’s no fun having to eat pasta or eggs every day for a fortnight because they were the only meals we could afford, we couldn’t take the kids anywhere and had to make £37 last three weeks at one point. Still, our bills always got paid and the kids never knew any different. For some people, that’s every day life and for even more, they have so much less so I can’t complain. We are lucky when we look at the bigger picture. Thankfully, a new job means we are almost out of that rut now and although we are still playing catch up, I’m happy in my work again and the second wage means we don’t have to eat eggs every day unless they’re in a cake.
My health has been a somewhat testing this year and I’m still waiting to see if I have M.S after my MRI scan. I’m so scared, I can’t even begin to talk about it so I won’t. But it’s there, lurking. I hate uncertainty and as much as people say not to fear the unknown, this is my life, this is my future, how can I not be scared?
All the crappy bits aside, there have been some good times. Obviously there’s the part where Paul and I got engaged, albeit untraditionally. I’m not going to give too much away on here about it yet because next year, I plan on blogging more about it so I’ll keep it for then.
I eventually found a new job, made a new friend in a Don, an 80 year old customer who swiftly became part of our family and has injected so much joy into our lives.
I made lots of new friends via the platform with the squares, mostly of the Northern Irish kind and have planned a visit to meet them all in March. I met up with Jo and her Mum after following her on Instagram for years and next year, I’m going to try and make time to meet up with more of the people who have supported me through the darkest and brightest days but also made me laugh until my belly hurts and I worry about the lack of bladder control.
I proudly watched my daughter dance in her annual show and got to be the embarrassing Mum who yells her kids name out all the way from the back row. I’m not sure she will let me come to next years performance.
All three children have had glowing School reports and parents evening reviews so that was a huge highlight for us. Just knowing that they are achieving so much and their teachers are recognising them for the wonderful humans they are, fills me with pride.
So what are my goals for 2018?
One thing I’ve learnt this year, is not to plan ahead too much. This time last year, I was full of big ideas of what was to come but you never know what can happen so I’m keeping it simple.
I’ve got a trip to NI planned in March and Paul and I are off to Croatia in May to celebrate his 40th birthday. They’re definitely worth some getting excited over.
Obviously we’ve got a lot of wedding planning to do and it’s not going to be easy but it’s going to be fun. I’m only ever doing this once so I’m going to embrace every second, I’m going to try and keep it as low budget as possible but without having to sacrifice all things pretty and it’s going to be very centred around the five of us, not just Paul and I.
We plan on using our days off so much better with the children, trying to get them off iPads is a task in itself but we want to spend time with them and not a screen so it’s going to be more of an outdoors year than ever before.
As far as blogging goes, in January, it’s undergoing a BIG make over, not only will it have a totally new look, the posts will be more regular, the content will be much more varied – I promise to keep it going with the “real” posts and write from the heart but, finding time to blog has been hard and my heart hasn’t been all together in it so this year, I’m going to write more regularly, teach myself how to use widgets, links and all the technical stuff so it looks more like I know what I’m doing. Hopefully, I can make my blog a place that I would want to be, and if I want to be there, you might too. The posts will be a lot more upbeat in content but that doesn’t mean I won’t write when things feel tough, in order for me to be who I am, I need to write honestly and that includes the nitty gritty. However, be prepared for mini make up tutorials as I’m always being asked about what I use in my Instagram stories, they’ll be a ‘shop my style’ section but don’t worry, none of the “out of budget” kind of stuff, it’ll feature not only clothing and shoes but make up, homeward and any bargains I find along the way. I’m going to invest in a tripod so I can learn more about my camera rather than being set on auto every time, as I’m going to be on a mission this year to lose 3 stone, I want to document that in photos and I want more family shots too. I’m also going to be inviting guest bloggers to write for the blog, I’ve found so many bloggers that I respect and admire in the own right and would love to share them with you. Blogging can be so cut throat so it’s important to me to support each other and work as a community.
As far as micro blogging through my Instagram goes, I’m going hell for leather as usual. I’ve decided to change the look of my photos but as yet, I’m not sure how, I loved the dark Autumnal tones but I’m not feeling the light ones I’ve used in Winter, they feel a bit too bland and over worked. It’s not me. I’ve also made a constructive decision to take on ads, I dabbed my toes in the water earlier in the year and stopped as I felt scared. But, I intend to start again. Ads paid bills, ads put food on the table and kept us going through the tough days so I’m fully aware of the need to take any opportunity to make money where I can. However, I won’t sell myself out, if an ad works for my family, I’ll take it. They’ll be no ads of me endorsing products I won’t or don’t use, products I don’t believe in or products I’ll eBay after. And, if I don’t like a product, I’ll be honest and tell you why. I have to start building a nest egg for my children and if taking on ads helps, I’m not going to turn it down.
One of the biggest things I plan on doing this year alongside losing weight, will be charity runs, race for life, 5K runs and so on, all for cancer research. I also want to do more to raise awareness for the elderly and homeless. It’s so important to give something back and help those that need it, so that’s a big plan.
And the last thing of all is to try and stop worrying about what other people think of me, particularly people that don’t know me or think they know me based on the opinion of others. I don’t need to be told I’m a good person, I know it already. Knowing my self worth is so important and I’m not going to spend time worrying that people may or may not like me, that people won’t get what I’m about. I can’t live my life through the negative opinions of other people.
So those are the things I’m planning, every trying else is just going to be a “fly by the seat of my pants” type of year. I’ll take each day as it comes, I’ll embrace opportunities, new people and new adventures. Whatever happens, I know it can’t get any worse than the year we’ve had, and if I do have dark days, I got through it once, I know I can again.
I’ll do 2018 my way, the best way I can, with Paul and the children by my side.
Wishing you all a very happy New Year. To those of you who have supported me constantly, especially through the tough days, I can’t thank you enough, when I was at my lowest point, the kindness of complete strangers was so overwhelming and really helped me realise my self worth. You’re diamonds.
Love Emma xox