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It was my birthday yesterday and I was astounded and overwhelmed by the good wishes on Facebook and Twitter all day, especially given Caitlin Moran’s Twittersilence day. At times it is easy to feel very alone in the crowded pub that is Twitter but yesterday I felt truly surrounded by love. Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of those who have gone out of their way to wish me happy birthday over the last three days. You cannot begin to comphend how much it means to hear it from you.

Now, this time last year I was staying at La Magnanneraie just outside Avignon and basking in the heat and sunshine of Provence. Sadly it looks like we’ll not be able to get away this summer due to events and children doing interesting stuff, so we’re staycationing instead. Don’t feel too sorry for us: we did go skiing in Tremblant in March.

Last year I set myself some objectives and I thought it might be a good idea to review them in a sort of performance review. I mean, I’m going to look at myself sympathetically because I’m not jockeying for position with myself in the Rat Race. Not most of the time anyway.

These are the objectives I set for myself in this post last year:

Volunteer

Well, I’ve made a good start on this. I don’t want to talk about the actual volunteering but I’ve done training and made a good start. I’m not sure “like” is an appropriate word as the work but I am finding it rewarding and I’m pleased that I’m able to help.

Run a Marathon

Sadly my running abilities seem to have diminished with that extra year but John and I did complete the Moonwalk Full Marathon in May and, although we walked it, the training did involve a lot of time and effort and Sundays. I think it’s quite an achievement and I’m proud to have raised over £700 for Breast Cancer charities from my friends and family. Perhaps I’ll be able to run a marathon one day but I don’t think it will be soon. I have, however, recently joined a new gym and am hoping that this additional motivation will help me increase my running stamina.

Grade 8

I haven’t done this yet because I’ve been far too busy this summer, but I’ve chosen my Grade 8 pieces and I’m hoping that the inevitable pre-Christmas cold won’t impinge too much on my performance in November or December. I’m pleased to say that my singing technique has improved since last year and I feel much more ready to face my next exam although I’m sure there’s been no improvement in my sight-singing.

Solo

Well, I’ve joined a new choir, which I absolutely adore, and our Messiah trip to our twin town Neuwied in May was the source of much pleasure. It’s so good to be able to take time out to do something I love so much. I am hoping to take part in a singing workshop and showcase my solo singing in the next month or two. Whether that is the first step towards a cabaret singing career that I’ve always secretly desired remains to be seen.

Piano

Nope. Not done anything about that this year.

Food

Well, I’ve taken a few steps towards eating more mindfully and managed to lose a little weight. I think I need to be a little more serious about it and try a bit harder. But when one enjoys something and derives a lot of sensory pleasure from it, it’s so hard to cut oneself off, no?

Stylish

I’ve changed the brand of my make up and stuck to my aim of never again buying or wearing anything that didn’t suit me. The invaluable help and guidance of Denise at DamsonBelle has guided my choice for occasion wear. Sadly this has not meant that I’ve spent any less on clothes. It’s just that I’ve spent money on clothes that I like and that suit me.

Knit

Ah yes. The knitting project. Well, I haven’t quite finished it yet. In fact I haven’t really sat down and done much since April. I’m at a complicated stage of decreasing the cabling to maintain the pattern while shaping a front V neck. It’s a very difficult pattern and I’m really proud of my tenacity. I’ve had to stop, unpick and reknit from scratch about nine times. Yes, nine. But there’s not much left to do and I intend to present the jumper to John in time for NEXT winter.

 

Otherwise, the year has been both fulfilling and challenging. Most upsetting and sad for me was parting company with some real friends both in real life and on Twitter. I could never have imagined how painful this would be. Lessons have been learned but it remains important to me to be true to myself. Sometimes people just aren’t worth the effort. Sometimes, even if they are, the compromises required to maintain a friendship are simply too great to endure.

And my challenges for the next year:

  • To value my health and good fortune.
  • To write. Despite the odd hiatus, I have continued this blog, now self-hosted, and I have started my novel. One day I might finish it. It might even be deemed fit for publication. Who knows?
  • To be kind, wherever possible.

 

That’s it. Thank you.

 

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