12 Things in 12 Months {Part 1}

Flying a kite

Looking back on the past 12 months, has become not just a pass-time, but a necessity of mine. Until I’ve written some kind of summary of the year – what went well and what I would do differently if I had my time again – I become stuck in the old one and unable to move forward. It can be quite debilitating, let me tell you!

You see I am a planner with a capital ‘P’.  I have a family calendar, personal and online diaries, journals and other useful paraphernalia which all satisfy my need to be organised. I’ve recently realised that this necessity to plan is possibly born out of an aversion to uncertainty and change. Planning helps to keep both of these creatures at bay.

This year, more than any other, I found out what happens when things do not go according to plan. This is what I will always remember about 2016….

1. I rediscovered reading.

Books have never really been a huge part of my life. I wasn’t a great reader as a child and when my own children were small, I couldn’t concentrate on anything more than a trashy celebrity magazine. Over the years, I’ve reserved most of my reading for holidays – something I’ve associated with relaxation.

2016 has been a challenging year and finding a way to escape from the every day stresses has been vital to my wellbeing. Reading is a wonderful way to lose yourself and helps to avoid that awful habit of over-thinking as soon as the lights go off. I’ve read some great books over the last 6 months or so and will continue to do so.

The Girl Who Came Back

2. I learnt the importance of self-care. 

As mums (and dads) I think we put a great deal of pressure on ourselves to be strong. More than anything, we want our children to feel safe, to know that we’ve got life under control and that they have nothing to worry about. Maybe that’s just me? Towards the end of this year, I realised that this isn’t possible unless I sometimes put myself first. We are not machines that keep going no matter what, we need to look after ourselves or we may just break down.

It also pays to show our children every now and again that we are not infallible. Bubble baths, early nights, walks in the countryside and saying ‘no’ have all been part of my learning curve this year.

3. I spent more time in therapy than watching TV!

I have many friends who have recently sought out therapy and I have been all for it. As for me? Well yes….and no. The truth is, I never thought I would be the one sitting in the therapist’s chair!

I’m not going to tell you how many hours have been spent either in a waiting room or actually sitting in the chair myself this year, but let’s just say ‘pride comes before a fall’! For the record….it’s been invaluable.

4. My daughters finally buried the hatchet.

Nothing warms my heart more than seeing my children get on. In this house, it’s a rarity which makes it even more precious. When my girls were little, they had a love/hate relationship, much like most sisters who are born so close together. As they got older, rather than seeing the competition and animosity dissipate, it seemed to get stronger, to the point that they were barely able to breathe the same air.

They say that ‘every cloud has a silver lining’ and this year, watching them form a bond was my ‘silver lining’. My girls found a new connection with one another, an understanding that was never there before. Of course they still bicker over clothes being ‘borrowed’ without asking but on the whole, it’s been an absolute joy to witness spontaneous shopping trips together, joint friendships being formed and jokes (even clothes sometimes!) being shared.

5. I said goodbye to my much loved grandad.

My grandad was the ripe old age of 96 (almost 97) when he passed away in April of this year. April was probably the weirdest month of my life and his passing contributed to that. Although he had lived a marvellous life and should be very proud of the amazing age he reached, I’m not sure I was ready for him to go. Are we ever ‘ready’ to say goodbye to a loved one? What I do have is some very dear memories of him and my granny that I will hold onto forever.

Autumn Leaves

6. I understood the true value of living in the moment.

There are many things that I know in my head, but so many of them I rarely put into practice. This is one of them. I know that living in the moment is important – listening intently to everything my child says (not thinking about what we are going to have for tea) or savouring every moment of our holiday (not thinking about the journey home and the busy week we have coming up) – but am I able to do it? Hmmmm.

We’ve lived a somewhat chaotic and unpredictable life this year. Not knowing what’s round the corner, has helped me to appreciate the good moments while they are there. I’ve learnt that more than ever this year and hope it’s something I will hold onto.

ReflectionFor me, this time of reflection is vital: good or bad, happy or sad, no year happens without a mix of both. As I started writing this post, I realised just how much I wanted to say and what a huge learning curve I’ve been on. You’ll therefore find Part 2 and the other six things I’ve learnt, on the blog next week.

In the meantime, if you want to read a little more about what happened to us this year, my daughter started writing a blog a few weeks ago.

Everything happens for a reason, right?

(You can read Part 2 and the final six things I’ve learnt here).

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16 Comments

  1. Liz
    December 23, 2016 / 5:46 pm

    Brilliant Suzanne! It is good to,look back and reflect on the comings and the goings. I have had that sort of a year too and need to push forwards to 2017. However i dont think anything that happened this year has been worthless because we can learn from anything that happens to us

  2. December 23, 2016 / 7:51 pm

    Suzanne,

    For you and your daughter to go public on all of this was very courageous. (I had to smile at her discovery of the joys of 20th-century communications technology…)

  3. December 23, 2016 / 9:31 pm

    This was a nice read. Sorry to hear about your Grsndad. It desperately hurts when we lose someone so close to us. I look forward to reading Part 2

    #ShareYourYear

    • January 3, 2017 / 3:37 pm

      Thank you Nicola. Yes it’s been a strange year all round really.

  4. December 23, 2016 / 10:48 pm

    Off to follow your daughter’s blog – it’s brave of her to write but probably quite cathartic too. I love this post. You have such a positive outlook – that the bad happens for a reason, things are sent to try us and looking at the silver linings. I am hoping that 2017 brings much more of a positive feel to your whole family x

  5. December 24, 2016 / 1:59 am

    Suzanne I cannot imagine what you went through whilst worrying about your daughter. I am so guilty of imagining everyone has a lovely life when I see blogs & Instagram, we all have no idea what any of us goes through. I admire her for writing such an honest post. I wish you and your family a happy 2017
    Lorraine xx

  6. December 24, 2016 / 2:58 am

    This must have been such a hard year for you and your family, but it’s wonderful that you’ve pulled through and I hope next year will be better x

  7. December 24, 2016 / 11:02 am

    What a year! Sounds like some very valuable lessons learned. I hope you can continue to put them into practise into 2017. I LOVE that your girls are finally friends. Blood is definitely thicker than water and, when times are tough, siblings are always there for each other. Long may it continue!

  8. December 26, 2016 / 1:42 am

    What a year Suzanne, but it seems as if you are taking soem good learnings from it. I pray 2017 brings soem immense blessings to yoru family. Mich x

    • January 1, 2017 / 4:55 pm

      Thank you so much Mich. I know you’ve prayed for us this year and I appreciate that and your online support so much 🙂 x

  9. December 26, 2016 / 4:04 pm

    Oh how lovely that your daughter has started blogging too. I know you’ve had a difficult year and it’s great to see what you’ve learnt from it. I look forward to reading your next instalment. I also need to find time to reflect on 2016. If only I was better at planning I’d have the time!
    Nat.x

    • January 1, 2017 / 4:54 pm

      My problem is that if I keep it all stored up in my head, it gets clogged so I need to write about it! Time is definitely an issue where me and blogging are concerned though. Here’s to more of it in 2017! x

  10. December 27, 2016 / 11:13 pm

    Such a lovely post – I too think it’s so important to reflect. I’m so sorry to hear about your grandad – losing someone at any age is never easy.

    I also discovered self care this year, after suffering a miscarriage early last year and suffering from complications afterwards I learned the importance of trying to look after myself more.

    I have followed your blogs for many years and I think you are amazing . I’m hoping 2017 brings much happiness and joy to you and your family xx

    • January 1, 2017 / 4:53 pm

      Thank you so much Natalie. Discovering your blog has been one of my highlights of this year. So excited for what’s in store for you all in 2017! xx

  11. December 30, 2016 / 11:36 pm

    I love the format of this round up, and I love that you have taken so much time for YOU this year, it really is so important! Of course it’s love to read about your girls getting on too! So glad you’ve been enjoying reading, it really is a great way to lose yourself for an hour or two!

    • January 1, 2017 / 4:52 pm

      Thank you Lauren. It’s certainly been a year of change. I could never imagine my two getting on and whilst they still fight like cat and dog sometimes, it’s good to see some harmony restored.

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