As we reach the final day of 2019 and indeed the decade, like many people I like to take a little time to reflect on life and assess where I am in the scheme of things.
Undoubtedly, the past decade has been a very interesting one. I got made redundant back in 2011 which didn’t come as any great shock at the time, but required some adjustment nevertheless. I found new employment relatively quickly and have been with my ‘new’ employer ever since (and made some good friends there too). Then, three years ago, I underwent major surgery (a hysterectomy) after discovering I had massive fibroids. It was all pretty traumatic at the time, having never spent a day in hospital before, but my husband and parents were hugely supportive and I made a good and relatively quick recovery. The surgery brought on early menopause which brings its own challenges of course. Compared to others I seem to have got off quite lightly in terms of negative side effects but I have found spending time outdoors (along with a daily dose of Omega 3 fish oil !) have helped me navigate it and for that I am very grateful.
I started blogging too, finally discovering I have a creative streak after all and falling in love with photography. Who knew ?
We travelled to Marrakesh and New York, soaked up the sun in Majorca and Menorca and took city breaks to Berlin and Copenhagen – all amazing places that broadened my horizons and left me feeling inspired.
Back in 2015, we lost our very first dog, a basset hound called Oscar. I can tell you, after almost thirteen years of fun, love and friendship, it broke my heart. Amazingly, another little basset hound was to come into our lives just a few months later. I thought it was too soon, that I wasn’t ready, that I couldn’t love another dog…how wrong was I? As you all know now, that dog was Boris….you couldn’t ask for a sweeter, softer, more adorable little soul.
Looking more closely at 2019, we didn’t board a single plane all year, opting instead for lots of mini breaks locally and it’s been a real joy to discover so much natural beauty on our own doorstep. I’ve had some lovely moments this year – an encounter with a horse in Carlingford, a walk through a bluebell wood, watching the sun set on the beautiful North coast, growing love in a mist from seed, an afternoon snooze in a gypsy caravan…too many in fact to list them all here.
Back in August I turned 50 (yikes!) and that in itself brings a period of reflection. I celebrated with a little family get together (and some amazing cakes) as well as a fantastic afternoon tea with my mum at The Observatory at The Grand Central Hotel. The views over Belfast are amazing and we sat and sipped our tea and reflected on how much our beloved city has progressed since the days of the Troubles (the 12th August 1969 is often seen as the beginning of the conflict…I was born in Belfast on the 11th !).
On a more personal note, I’ve really tried to embrace a simpler, slower way of living. I’ve some way to go, but overall I buy less because I seem to need and want less and because I’ve realised my personal happiness comes from other things. I hope to continue this journey through 2020 and beyond. And as I start a new decade and embrace life in my fifties, I think it may just be my most fulfilling and creative time yet !
Wishing you and yours good health and happiness in 2020…I’ll leave you with a little collage of my most liked photographs from Instagram this year …