From March onward, 2016 seemed to fly and I suppose overall we had a fairly good year. Not a glowing report, you may notice, and I’m still undecided on whether it’s a year I will look back on fondly or not. There were many highlights, including holidays to Athens and Paros, a huge number of blog-related opportunities, both children thriving at school and in their chosen clubs, and a new career path for me. There were also a couple of notable low points, things that have affected me quite profoundly. Friendships disintegrated without reason, relationships were tested; the children suffered as a result, which I find most unforgivable. But, however difficult I have found the past few weeks and months, it all belongs firmly in 2016.
Today, we emptied our 2016 happy jar and sifted through its contents, remembering events and milestones. Seeing as though I often forget to add mementos to the jar, I was surprised at how full it actually was.
Jasmine pulled out tickets and leaflets and wristbands, talking about each one – her memory far better than my own, it transpired.
I shamelessly stole this idea from a friend last year and am so glad I did, though quite what we will actually do with all this memorabilia now I am unsure. I may find a box to house it, or gather highlights into a clip frame. Something.
2016 saw my children turn six and eight respectively. The last couple of years have whizzed by, I now know that they will soon be seven and nine; eight and ten. It seems a little cruel that by the time you are of an age to appreciate that childhood is fleeting, time speeds up even more. Their entire lives have passed more quickly than a single summer of my own childhood.
Our year boasted some rather memorable travel highlights including baking in Mykonos, scaling the Acropolis, staying at the Eden Project and climbing to the top of Portland Bill lighthouse. We enjoyed several day trips as well, visiting Chessington and Drayton Manor, Drusillas and London Zoo, Arundel Castle and Petworth House, Monkey World and Bentley Motor Museum… the list goes on. We were also really lucky to review some short breaks and restaurants; blogging is a brilliant hobby! We stayed at the Runnymede-on-Thames hotel and spa, MacDonald Elmers Court Hotel, YHA Portland and a gorgeous country house in Weymouth with cottages.com – very lucky indeed.
So that was our 2016. The edited version, naturally.
2017, I hope, will be full of adventure and achievement. I have plans that I am excited for. There are lots of things we would like to do, as a family.
Travel has always been a big part of our lives together. We are always planning and dreaming about beautiful new places to see, exciting new things to do. This year, we have three travel plans – camping by the sea in France over the summer, heading back to Snowdonia probably at Easter, and a few days in Cologne as it is somewhere we have always wanted to explore. Personally, I would also love to take the children somewhere with plenty of snow in December and am busy saving for a Disneyland trip, which my little thrillseekers will love. Finally, I’m in talks with a number of travel brands and hotels with exciting collaborations in the pipeline; bring it on!
As of July, I should have my level 2 supporting teaching and learning in schools qualification under my belt, which I am so excited about, though a little nervous. I do doubt at times whether I will actually manage to pass, but that is a story for another day, another post. Once the course ends, I will have to decide if I would like to take the level 3 course next, or if I would prefer to try my luck at finding an actual proper paid job in the classroom. At the moment, I am thinking that the level 3 course may be a better foundation for longterm employment. We shall see.
Having finally settled on a career option that I both want to do and is vaguely realistic, I am left with another dilemma. Do we continue trying to add to our family, or do we accept that two children is all we will ever have? Whatever our decision, the process is likely to be rather emotional and the outcome considerably impactful. Ideally, I would like a third (and perhaps a fourth) baby at some point, but now? This year? Probably not.
We are looking to move house this year, to somewhere with more living space, more storage, and a garden, preferably. Finding somewhere within budget and current school catchment is not easy, but we will not give up on our search. The children are heading towards an age where they really will need their own bedrooms, so time is of the essence.
I have written before about my anxiety and how it has held me back, particularly socially. In 2016, this began to change, and I fully intend to build on that during 2017 and beyond. I still have an anxious heart, a mind that lacks trust, a soul that struggles to find worth, and I hear them all, every day. The difference is that I don’t always listen to them anymore. Physiologically, the responses are identical to before, when I hid away at home, which can be exhausting. But I am learning that it’s fine to be scared, it’s ok to be filled with dread, and it’s probably a good idea to be honest with someone about those feelings, just make sure you still go ahead and do it. If I listened to my body, I would miss out on so much and I’m not prepared to do that anymore. I am going to be 30 this year, an actual proper grown up, and I am going to make sure I’m a bloody great one.
Have a fantastic 2017 – thank you for reading