I like doing what my friend calls ‘making bookends’ of the year, and inspired by another friend -from whom I borrowed the title of this post – I wanted to take stock of 2018.
In November 2017 in an attempt to ward off winter depression (SAD) I downloaded the free NHS couch to 5k app and taught myself to run. It proved to be not only a life saver in terms of fighting depression but also life bringing. In late April I headed off to Tampere (on the very early coach – in the rain!) to run my very first park run … and right now I’m sitting on the coach heading for Helsinki. Tomorrow morning -God willing- I’ll complete my twelfth parkrun this year. I’m really pleased … I’m not fast, I’m not elegant but running makes me feel alive … and being part of the park run community in Tampere has also been a great source of JOY for me!
During 2018 I have lost weight. Enough weight that it’s been noticeable and commented on by all kinds of people.
I have never had good self esteem when it comes to body image … but in the last few months I’ve started to enjoy how I look because the slimmed down version of me feels good -I’ve ditched a lot of old clothes (almost all of it had become too large for me!) and rediscovered some unforgotten gems, but also love this new coat (my daughter fpgelped me choose it and my MIL bought it for me as my birthday present!)
Keeping SAD at bay is still a challenge (particularly during Christmastide when the days are short in terms of day length, but nonetheless drag on in terms of lack of life-bringing structures … there’s too much eating, and too much being sensitive to the needs and desires of others than I’m often left feeling exhausted and sometimes the bleak feelings creep in again too). Somehow I need to find more courage to carve out more life giving well being habits at this time of year, but going out for runs with and without dogs and sneaking off to the pool have been lifelines I’ve grasped with both hands this year!
2018 was brilliant in terms of my so-called bucket list (though I hate the term!)
In May- June I got to visit Orkney and Shetland … both lived up to expectation, and were really beautiful and interesting, so much so I want to go back …. I loved the ruggedness of Shetland, the wide open spaces, the views and the wildlife and the friendliness of the people. Orkney was spectacular too; much more fertile and flatter and the cathedral was amazing!
In September-October my dream of walking the Camino finally became a reality. It was marvellous. I saw wonderful sunrises almost everyday … climbed mountain paths (up and down) and met some amazing pilgrims from so many different places and backgrounds! The Camino was So much more than I even dared dream or imagine … so life giving and joyous and one of the beautiful bonuses was that I was able to see life with new eyes. It was as if I’d had glaucoma or a cataract … and post op my vision of myself of others and of God was clearer and much more positive!
Life post Camino has been good … I was fearful how the reverse culture shock would manifest and how it would hit me or how I’d handle it …but I navigated November really well …and my decluttering project during Advent also brought life and freedom in a different way as the light shone in deep recesses in my closet and in other nooks and crannies in our home.
I tuned 59 at the end of November … and that means I’ve stepped into my sixtieth year
I want this to be a year to remember -for all the right reasons – so one of the things I’m asking friends -and family – is to invite me to join them this year in doing something they love or enjoy. I’m hoping it won’t be limited to food and drink related activities … my friends are more imaginative and creative than that! – and I’m hoping that people will invite me to walk on their favourite beach or forest or woods, or invite me to join them doing something they love -a particular exhibition or museum, an art gallery, ballet or opera or show – a visit to their dance class or equivalent …
I want to be exposed to beauty in different ways than I’m used to and I’m very much hoping to use this year to get some wonderful one on one time with my fabulous friends, and family members – building memories rather than gathering stuff!Let’s see how that goes …