2017. What a year! It seems to have been rather momentous for many, individually and globally, in all sorts of ways. And for me too, this has been a pivotal year…
I turned 40. I got divorced. I fell in love again (and came out in the process!). I began to explore the fact I’m adopted. Just a few small events to get my head around…no wonder I’ve spent the best part of 18 months with chronic insomnia and an average of 3-4 hours sleep a night 😩
As one of my best friends from school days said after I’d told her about this year: “Each one of those things is a big complex emotional thing to deal with, I can’t fathom how you start processing them in combination”. Indeed!
So here are my highlights and lowlights of the year…
Falling in love with one of my best friends has been the absolute highlight of the year. Becky and I have enjoyed time together in Bath, Devon, a few Spa days, and we even started a blog together.
It’s not been without its challenges – especially with 4 young children between us to consider and with us both processing our own stuff from the past – but we’re committed to making it work, and there are many, many highs from the past year on the love front which spring to mind!
My divorce has been relatively amicable and smooth. Jonathan and I still co-parent really well together as a strong unit – the friction only starts when we’re negotiating around having child-free time, especially to spend with our respective new girlfriends!
I’ve rediscovered my love of playing the guitar. I had lessons as a child and played sporadically for a while but haven’t picked up a guitar in several years now. Treating myself to one earlier this year has probably been the best gift I’ve bought myself. I play it regularly when I’m on my own, with the kids (who each got one for Christmas) and with Becky (you can hear a duet we did here!).
My 40th birthday was fun-filled and fabulous. Becky organised a surprise night at a local outdoor cinema event and gathered friends of mine from near and far. In honour of the party, I got my hair dyed for the first time with a hidden rainbow, followed up with a flame. Daniel, my brother, also treated us indulgently with a night out and delicious 7-course meal in London.
My kids have – so far – adapted really well to the change in their circumstances. It helps that Jonathan only lives 5 minutes away, that we home ed, and that they’re already used to a fair bit of change but having their parents no longer together has obviously been a huge event in their little lives.
They’ve got used to seeing each of us almost every day and they shuttle back and forth, seemingly very happily, between their 2 homes on a weekly schedule that’s become their new routine, and that is split equally between Jonathan and I.
Before this, Mali had only ever spent 2 nights away from me (while I was in hospital having Samson) and Samson had spent zero nights away from me. Now they’re with Jonathan 3-4 nights a week and have been on 2 holidays without me. It’s been tough for them but they’ve adapted so well and – fingers crossed – are still well balanced, emotionally aware, loving, and happy kids.
As most of my friends and family will tell you, I am NOT a pet person. And yet I now find myself the proud owner of 2 gorgeous little furry creatures – rats! – which I got the kids as a last-minute and utterly unplanned present!!!
As I mentioned, I’ve had pretty bad insomnia for almost 18 months now. I’ve tried everything and have decided to just let things be since I’m pretty sure my sleep will return when my emotional upheavals start to find some kind of peace in my mind in the future.
As someone who is not usually accident prone or ill very often, I’ve had rather more than my fair share of incidents this year! I broke my toe early on in the year which resulted in much piss-taking from Becky as I hobbled about with a hole cut out of most of my socks to keep the rest of my feet warm.
I was then hit on the head by a branch that fell randomly out of a tree while we were at the One World Festival in the summer, resulting in a fairly bad concussion and Jonathan having to travel down to where we were and drive the kids back in the car because I couldn’t drive for more than half an hour at a time. We were a 5-hour drive away 😬
I had a horrendous all-over body rash for a week for no specific reason, alongside spending much of the year with my legs covered in bites (from someone’s cat fleas – ahem! – and other unidentifiable biting critters that I think were in my house – I spent a fortune to have my entire house heat-treated to get rid of anything!). And to top it off, I pranged my car pretty badly while fighting with the corner of a jaggedy brick wall one very dark night, and losing.
Exploring my adoption could equally come under the highs as well as the lows! It has been the most emotional journey I’ve experienced so far and has – I’m sure – been the cause of the insomnia and all the accidents and illnesses!
While many of the end results of the process have been and are absolute highs, the process itself has, at times, been the lowest of lows.
I’ve had difficult conversations, I’ve let myself feel the most deeply buried pain, I’ve exposed myself and my vulnerabilities to various people, and I’ve experienced what it’s like to be triggered by even the smallest of things (sometimes knowingly so and even knowing why hasn’t helped me stop it!). It’s been and continues to be one of the hardest things I’ve chosen to do.
I have never felt or been as unfocused on my business as I’ve been this year. Things have been ticking over but nothing more than that. As I’ve lived more of life, the business has taken a backseat which it’s coped with but I need to get my focus back on this sooner rather than later.
So 2017 has been an absolutely wild ride for me. It’s brought me to here – a place and space where I’m the happiest, the saddest, and every emotion in between that I’ve ever been and I think there’s a whole lot more to come still.
So here’s to an even better 2018…and please let me get some sleep!