All years have a mix of the two – I do like to focus on the positives, on what went well, on what was achieved – even if it hadn’t been on the list of intentions for the year. But whilst I don’t agree with self-flagellation over the unachieved, it can be useful to carry out a check-in, to test the temperature of that which remained undone – to decide if it should be carried forward, or whether it was the wrong thing to aim for and should simply be scrubbed from the long-term plans. So, here’s my musings on 2017 …
I became a grandmother. My wonderful daughter gave birth to a girl in early April. My granddaughter was born on the 7th – a number my grandfather believed was his lucky number. And who could argue with him, when each of his three great-grandchildren were born – before he died – on the 7th of their individual months of birth? Whilst this was the biggest of positives, it was nothing I did … nevertheless I’m basking in the joy of the happening and the change. This is my biggest positive.
December 21st marked the first year of my life without my father in it. True – it was a year in which he didn’t have to suffer, but it was also one without those wonderful flashes of his humour. A year of adjustment to the new family dynamic, a year of hell in the form of building work and disagreements. Nothing will be the same again … and we all have to find our feet and our new normal.
In the midst of all that, I found my blogging feet. I stopped feeling the need to hide behind anonymity which I’d been doing for three long years with my previous blog, and now have the confidence to step out as myself. I feel content with this blog, with its look, with its mix of subject matter that reflect my interests.
A secondary blogging positive is that I’m now posting weekly. OK, so I’m late this week, but we’re all allowed a bit of holiday flexibility … right? I feel a sense of genuine contentment at having achieved this goal and feel this is the right frequency for me … for now anyway.
I’ve gained great pleasure in writing regular pieces of fiction and opinion-pieces on fiction-related matters over at FictionCanBeFun, and am proud to have celebrated our first year in September. I’ve also loved finding suitable pictures to illustrate not only my submissions but those of my writing partner, David. I am frustrated in being unable to find the perfect picture for his final piece of fiction this year … but I worked hard at it and sometimes, that has to be enough.
David has been the driving force behind FictionCanBeFun and I’ve been happy to be the planner. But, as that’s something which comes naturally to me, I’d like to challenge myself by contributing with more ideas and in building new relationships with potential contributors.
This was the year in which I was signed off from monitoring by the hospital who’d treated my breast cancer – three years later than I expected when it all started, if two years earlier than I’d been promised at the start of 2017. A year when I discovered that another one of the cancer support group I’d long been part of was diagnosed with a new cancer, despite having received the best possible prognosis following her treatment – that of being no more likely to get cancer than any other member of the population – just like me. An occurrence that brought both renewed fear and a realisation that I had to find a way to keep on keeping on … just like each and every other member of that amazing support group is doing.
I’ve read less new books this year than I have since starting to monitor my numbers. They’re not too bad when I include re-reads and factor in the amount of reading material and lack of free time available to me due to the intensive training I undertook in the latter quarter of the year. But still. Notably, I decided last year not to do any type of read-along with the Man-Booker competition this year, and it turned out to be a year chock-full of the type of books I wanted to read. I think applying more flexibility to my reading decisions in the future would be wise …
Oh … I qualified at the end of that intensive three months of training – a huge positive for me both professionally and personally. I have new tools to use together with a new accreditation to support my Life Coaching practice, and I met some lovely, inspirational and supportive people to boot. This helped the year end on a high, despite a sad anniversary.
Whilst very content with my blogging, I’ve completely ground to a halt on my longer WIPs. There’s just been nothing there. I’ve not felt the spark, nor the urge to write. Also, the structure to my days has changed such that I no longer have the opportunity for my usual late night writing. The end of the year brought a most unexpected germ of a story which came to me in the most unusual circumstances. Now I have to craft a new structure to my day in order to plan it and write it, or it will remain just a germ …
Finally, I’ve been gaining confidence in my photography and am enjoying sharing the fruits of my labour. But, far more important, I’m learning to be more deliberate in the photos I take and in having an outcome I want to achieve. The latter is happening more often, which is hugely pleasing. There’s still a huge amount to learn and a lot less of the spray-and-hope methodology to practice. It’s frustrating that I have to mention the fact that my camera developed a fault. The positive? It’s still within warranty. The negative? The fault happened on Christmas Day – my granddaughter’s first one. The images of the day are ones I’m holding only in my memory … but they are great images!
Happy New Year all – may 2018 bring what you wish!
© Debra Carey, 2017