I write this on New Years eve, having just read a facebook memory from last year, which read:
There are many people who know 2019 is going to be tough, they’re waiting for an operation, having treatment, they’re waiting for a DWP assessment, or are homeless, their job is ending or their relationships are tricky. A new year might bring fear and not hope. So as the calendar changes, the new year is nearer to the thing, and Happy new year feels hollow, as that person might be hiding alot just to pretend or go along with everyone else. Please do know if this is you, you are not going through what ever it is alone, that there is hope beyond the difficulty. So, maybe we need to do ‘real’ new year, and not just do Happy new year for 2019.
Of course, the perceptive amongst you will know that this was me.
My Last piece, gives some of the detail of the year I had, and you can read this here. So I won’t be going through the details again, but I want to look back at some of the learning, and thankfulness and be grateful for the gifts I have received this year, for I look back with pride and gratefulness.
2019 was the year I discovered what friendship looked like. My God, I am so grateful for the heroic, wonderful friends, their grace, energy, patience, knowledge, wisdom, and carrying me, but also carrying me in a way that enabled me to realise that I had agency. I love you. you know who you all are. You are many.
2019 was the year I fell in love with music, from pet shop boys, meat loaf, Steve Taylor, Fleetwood Mac, Ed Sheeran, Jazz, Dire Straits, Bob Dylan, I have sang and danced and cried. I have also developed my guitar playing a lot, and I love it.
2019 was the year I started to live alone, my own flat, my own house, and its a place of calm, peace, a place to read, to chill and its been a joy to share this space with others, the loving friends, to cook for them, and even give them space to have retreats of their own.
2019 was the year I faced fears, faced emotional challenges, faced my past, faced the abyss, faced a number of things head on. It wasn’t pleasant, at all. Though the circumstances I forced to (marriage separation 18 months ago), I put the whole thing in the mix. Im grateful for professional counselling and the deep reflective friends.
2019 was the year Im grateful for the ongoing self awareness, books I was encouraged (forced??) to read, counselling I did, and finding myself, valuing myself through the year, valuing the bits of me I had tried to hide ( like introversion, or sensitivity) and being proud of them. 2019 was the year for becoming a new better me.
2019 was the year I had a better relationship with food, living in other peoples houses meant no free access to a fridge, understanding my own emotions and feel deeply better, meant less comfort eating. I am now vegetarian and feel so healthy.
2019 was the year my reading included books on self awareness, poverty, Youthwork, but also Paulo Coelho, books on history and other interests like Railways, it also included fiction. It may be the year that over the course of it, I developed a balance.
2019 was the year I took my own medicine I’ve given for so long, and God am I grateful.
2019 was the year I went on holiday with my son George, to Tunisia, and realised that I felt alive, happy and I splashed, swam and danced in the pool, and discovered an external body awareness and confidence a few weeks later.
2019 was the year I went on a guided retreat and discovered through it a love for the rhythm of the daily office. Yet, for the first 3 months I was doing it at someone else house, in my own, with candle, and quiet flat, its calming, beautiful and fabulous.
2019 was the year I started to use the words fabulous, glorious, wonderful, gift, joy and think about dreams, joys, beauty, life.
2019 was the year I started to do things about stuff I care about, and not just care about me, like rejoin labour, like protest about climate, like donate money to charities, like go to conferences, maybe like be vegetarian to some degree.
2019 was the year I began to love myself. Love myself for who I am, because I began to value who I am even more, head to the deep bits, discover the emotional strength I had and have. Love myself because I am actually ok. Love myself because I knew myself, love myself because I had experienced that deep love.
2019 was the year I slowed down my writing, but also started writing more poetry. I guess I had less to write about, professionally, and my energy was elsewhere, like starting a new job, like counselling, like emotional survival at times.
2019 was a year of discovery, a year of learning, a year to focus on me, a year to realise that being open and sharing is a good thing, a year to be in community.
2019 was the year I went to my first English based youth ministry conference.
2019 was the year I discovered some beautiful generous people, a year I saw even more beauty in the world. A year of gifts, received and given.
Thank you all, for being part of it, here’s to 2020!