Wednesday, 1 January 2014

What were the Highs and Lows of 2013?

Over the last year I have connected in real life with some of the bloggers I read. Its an odd thing ... to finally come face to face with someone you have only known on line previously. I briefly met Kate from Kate on Thin Ice at BritMums Live, where she was hosting one of the meeting rooms. I had been aware of her because of the hard work and dedication she puts into the Charity connections BritMums is involved with. I think both of us were a bit shy in real life, but as the year has gone on I have chatted with her on Twitter quite a lot and she has tagged me to write this post. As its New Year's Day today seems like the right time to post my version... so here goes!

1.What was your happiest event in 2013?
I think I can safely say that my happiest moment was when I graduated in the summer of 2013.I dropped out of university where I had been studying History of Art with Italian and Classics when I was 22, having completed 2 years of my course. 20 odd years later I started at the Open University in the hope of gaining my degree. I did and I did better than I could ever have dreamed, gaining First Class Honours. The day in June when I went to Ely cathedral to graduate was one of the best days of my life. I collected my gown and was helped to dress correctly for the ceremony. As the gown was placed on my shoulders the tears streamed down my face. I remember the man saying "I hope those are happy tears?" All I could sob was "Its just been such a long time coming..." My heart was so full of joy, of pride, of the realisation that after all these years I had achieved something I had thought impossible. That was my happiest day.

2.What was the saddest thing to happen?
I am hoping that this will turn out not to be sad, but inspiring, but I have felt sad this year... Although the year started with all my friends healthy and well, the close of 2013 sees four of them undergoing treatment for cancer. Their courage in the face of suffering inspires me and their positivity fills me with hope, but it is human nature to worry and to fear for the future.

3.What was the most unlikely thing to happen, but which actually went ahead and did?
Well ... I would imagine you could put down my graduation for this one!! Who would have thought??

4.Who let you down?
I don't think anyone has let me down ... I count myself very fortunate to be surrounded by damn fine, loving people.

5.Who supported you?
When you ask this question the first person who rushes into my mind is my man. He is kind and loving and he is my best friend in the world. I miss him when he's not with me and I look forward to seeing him. He knows how to make me feel safe and takes the micky out of me when I get too serious.
But, you know ... when I consider this question I know that he wasn't the only one to support me. My boys are there for me when I need them, with hugs and cups of tea, with straightened cushions and laughs. My friends at work know when I need a pick up or a prosecco, they let me be me and I laugh with them. And fellow bloggers, fellow Twitter friends, some I know in real life, others I don't, are there for me when I rant about my children in the middle of the night.
All in all ... I am very lucky.

6.Tell us what you learned?
I have learned a lot this year. I've learned that when it comes to people I love or people who are in trouble I am patient, calm, loving. When it comes to people I consider lazy, selfish or dishonest I am absolutely intolerant. I don't suffer fools and I am very bad at hiding my feelings. I speak my mind when I see something I think is unjust, without always thinking through the consequences.

7.Tell us what made you laugh.
Lots made me laugh this year. I have laughed until I cried with my friends.Celebrating my friends' 40th birthdays we ate lunch, opened 40 presents and drove the waiter mad with our helpless laughter. My husband makes me giggle like a nutter sometimes. Children in the playground have told me jokes and other children have made me guffaw out loud in the library when I've marked their spelling sentences and they've risen to the challenge of "making their teacher laugh out loud". I laugh a lot.

8.Tell us the things that made you cry.
I may laugh a lot, but I have to admit that I cry a lot too.... My family say I cry at adverts ... true. I think its good to cry. I cried when I found out my friend had lost her hair from chemo. I cried when my friend was diagnosed with cancer again 18 years after beating it for the first time. I cried at my graduation. I cried last night when I stood 5 feet from Diana Ross and she started to sing "Ain't no Mountain High Enough", I cried when I read the thank you letters from the children in my class last summer, I cried when I got lost in the fog on a mountain in Italy. I cried as I stood before The Burghers of Calais at the Henry Moore and Auguste Rodin exhibition. As I said, I cry a lot.

9.Tell us 3 things your children did to make you feel proud.
I am always proud of my boys because they are good, honest, kind young men. Sometimes they drive me bananas with their hormones, but they are fundamentally wonderful. My youngest son has blossomed this year, gaining in confidence and enjoying his music again. He is funny and kind and so very loving.He is loyal and caring. My oldest son is in his GCSE year and has just completed his mocks. We have yet to receive his results, but he amazes me with his laid back approach. He is so incredibly calm and relaxed. He is also very loving and supportive. Both boys fill me with love.

10.Tell us the things that made you proud of yourself.
This is a funny one, because, if I'm honest, I don't often feel proud of myself. I try my best to be a good and kind person, but I always find myself wanting. I was, of course, proud of myself at my graduation (did I mention that??!)

11.Tell us the challenges you overcame.
This year has been a good one for me. I don't think I really have faced too many big challenges. Really my challenges have involved trying to support other people without breaking down. After all, if you are ill or in trouble the last thing you need is a friend blubbing. I have dug my nails into my thighs several times to stop myself getting upset and then blubbed in my car alone, but that's not really a challenge is it? Our escapade in Turkey where we narrowly avoided being conned into carrying prescription drugs through customs was a challenge. I'm glad that although I am honest I am also not a fool and I questioned what was asked of us. I am still trying hard to be a kind person. As I said earlier, I don't suffer fools and its a challenge for me to be patient and tolerant ... an ongoing challenge!

12.Tell us the things you would like to change about your life in 2014.
This year sees my husband and I turn 50. I am determined to hit my birthday as fit and healthy as possible. I have been exercising 6 days a week and eating far less for about a month now and have lost 7 pounds as well as inches from my waist, hips and boobs. I want that to continue.I am brushing up my French which has become un peu rusty over the last few years. I want to make the most of every opportunity, perhaps do more painting and drawing and possibly join a choir. I want to declutter my house, keep it beautifully clean and neat (yeah right!!) and work hard in my garden this year. I also want to see much more of my mum. She is 77 now and having been through a health scare this year with her I have realised just how much she means to me. I want to be a good mum and a good wife, a good friend.

So... that is my review of 2013. I hope you found it interesting. If nothing else it has made me think. I am not going to tag anyone, but I would love to read your take on this topic. Thank you Kate for tagging me - this has been an interesting exercise for me.

Happy New Year to all of you who read this. I wish you health and happiness. I plan this year to keep a jar in my kitchen and I will fill it with the best moments of 2014 written on little pieces of paper. Hopefully I will have lots of good moments and I hope you do too. Its daunting, as I get older, to look at my diary and wonder what will have happened by the end of its pages. I just want to keep my loved ones safe and well, to laugh and cry and reach next year in one piece!!


joy said...

Happy New Year Sarah,
Joy x x x

Kara Segedin said...

Massive congrats on the Graduation :-D It looks like it was a pretty good year for you in 2013 - long may it continue!
I have my own 'Big Birthday' coming up this year ;-)

sarah at secret housewife said...

Thanks Joy! Happy New Year!

Thank you Kara! Which big birthday are you heading for? Happy Birthday for then!! :0)