The End of the Year at the Close of a Decade

It’s been quite a year. In fact, it’s been quite a decade.

I don’t even really know where to start. 2019 has passed in a blur of ups and downs and life changing moments. And how do you begin putting all that into words? I could just…not, I suppose. I could just let the end of the year pass and the new one begin without committing a single syllable about it to the page. But then again, maybe not. You know me and my words, after all.

If you’d told me in January that I’d be rounding out the year with major surgery and publishing a book…well, first I’d have laughed and told you not to be daft and then I’d have promptly had a panic attack because that’s generally what I do when something seems big and scary. Both of these things were a total surprise. Both have changed my life in some way (big or small I don’t quite know yet on either count but hopefully for the better on both!!).

I’ve spoken a little about the health issues I’ve experienced this year on my various social media platforms but not really on here. After months of increasing pain, discomfort and distress, in the summer I was diagnosed with endometriosis. This disease affects 1 in 10 women, varies massively in how it manifests as well as the manner in and degree to which it impacts lives. There is much that is not understood about it and it is frequently misdiagnosed. In fact, the average time it takes to get a diagnosis is 7.5 years. I still can’t get over my shock at learning this. I’m still learning to understand the condition and although the process of my own diagnosis was not entirely smooth, I am nonetheless very grateful for its relative speed and that I was fortunate enough to be able to obtain treatment quickly. My heart goes out to those women who are not so fortunate. As well as going into 2020 happier and healthier following my surgery, I want to help raise awareness, in the hopes that the condition will be better understood and more women can access support and treatment. I’m indebted to Endometriosis UK for their wealth of information and support, without which I’d have felt very lost indeed.

On the brighter side of things, it is still surreal to me that, at the beginning of December, I published my first book. I never would have imagined that 2019 would be the year that particular dream came true. I’ve been overwhelmed by the support and wonderful feedback I’ve had so far. It has meant so much to see this work receive such a warm response and, to everyone who has bought, read, reviewed or shared it so far, I cannot thank you enough. It has been a work in progress for years and to have everything tie together so quickly and unexpectedly has been incredible.

Not quite so surprising as the surgery and the book, but still pretty sudden, was the change of career I embarked on back in March. After 12 years of working with young people, in one context or another, and 6 years working in a school, I took the leap and left for new pastures. Instead of teaching writing, I now get to write! It has been one of the steepest learning curves of my life and in some ways I’m still adjusting to this new world (because it really is a WHOLE new world!!) but it was absolutely the right decision and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to take this new direction.

There is so much more that I could talk about. My brother moving back to the UK with his lovely fiancé, our wonderful trip to Ireland, my best friend becoming a mum – and that’s just 2019! If I think back across the last 10 years this decade has truly been amazing. In a definitely-not-chronological order, here are a few highlights: I got engaged, got married, became a homeowner, became a dog owner, became a godmother (twice!), became an aunty, wrote a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, graduated with first class honours, visited 11 countries, hiked the Welsh three peaks, climbed Ben Lomond, danced in 5(I think?) stage shows, changed job 4 times, moved house twice, bought a new car, started a blog, started #bookstagramming, learnt how to tile a kitchen (which it turns out is fun!), learnt how to hang wall paper (which it turns out is not fun) – and so many, many more awesome thing (probably including some very significant stuff that I’ve missed off the list).

So what, exactly, is the point of this increasingly rambling post, you might ask? There isn’t one, I suppose. It’s simply a moment of reflection. Of gratitude for everything this year and the years preceding it have brought me. And a moment of looking forward. Of quiet anticipation for what lies ahead.

And a chance to say thank you, dear readers, for being part of the wonderful network of souls who have touched my life. I hope the decade has been good to you. I hope the next will be even better.

Go gently.x

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