It's a time to acknowledge your achievements and let go of the things that didn't work. I am a firm believer in looking forwards, with the knowledge that experiences are there to guide and inform you, and if you learn their lessons properly they won't repeat themselves. It's good, therefore, to list all the happy things, the helpful things, the glad-making things that a year has brought.
Highlights of mine include:
1) Blogging. This has brought me much joy and pleasure. I love writing, and keeping a blog is a perfect vehicle for it. I enjoy reading all your kind/ humorous/ reflective/ supportive comments as well as your wonderful and entertaining blogs. The world is stuffed full of wise, funny, talented, kind and generous people and being involved with blogging has demonstrated this to me in no uncertain terms, which is good, and nice, and pleasing.
2) Going back to college. I suspect that many mums feel their brains are underused while their bodies and hearts get the biggest of work out of their lives in raising children. Returning to study is a marker of our children's development as much as my own, and studying ecology is about as close to my heart as a subject can get.
3) Moths! I miss them now the long dark chilly nights are here and can't wait to see them all again as the Spring gets going (nb- see pics at bottom of post for a reminder of some of the best that visited the garden here this year).
4) L doing well at school. It's always reassuring and nice to hear good reports of your offspring, and his parent's evening this term was a blinder (no pressure for the next one then....).
5) Poppy coming to live with us. A new life to balance some of those we lost this year, including our hens Rennie and Cocky and our beloved Guinea Pig Brave Sir Robin. Pops is a ray of sunlight and has slotted into our family as if she's always been with us.
6) The Sea. It has always mattered to me and this year that feeling has, if anything, deepened.
7) Avebury Stone Circle. Similar to the sea really- it's a place I need to be.
8). Running. Taking up running has been a positive experience. The light bulb moment came when I realised I could run in any way I chose (walk/ run/ a mile/ two/ every other day/ once a week) and that however I did it it would be valid. After all, if you run 3 miles a week that's 156 miles a year you wouldn't have run otherwise. It all adds up.
9) Volunteering. Something I've long wanted to do but somehow never got round to. I think finding an area you want to give time to is the key. Next year I am focused on giving some time to help with Soup Kitchens for the homeless. This has touched my heart this autumn and I'd like to do more than just give money to help.
10) Knitting. A seasonal pursuit but one I have really loved doing this winter. The blanket I've been working on for the last two years is now finished and just awaits stitching together. Exciting. And it doesn't matter if it isn't perfect because it's my own achievement.
11) Watching the children of our family grow. This has been marked this year by J turning 18, L and F growing into young men (with all that that entails), my youngest niece starting school, another niece representing her county in Lacrosse, and yet another niece getting placed with her (not always biddable and therefore tricksy to handle) shetland pony in various competitions. I'm proud of them all and grateful for their wit and wisdom too. I learn so much from them, these lights in our lives.
12) Having a week off in the summer and spending it with my husband, taking trips to places we've long wanted to see such as Hardy's cottage, Athelhampton house and Jane Austin's house at Chawton, including several delicious pub lunches on the way.
13) Visiting Lulworth Cove in a hurricane and almost getting blown into the sea. Tremendous!
14) Holidaying in Devon and visiting Brixham, Dartmouth, North Sands, South Sands, Bigbury On Sea, Hope Cove and Salcombe (enough sea visits there to keep me going for a few weeks after!).
15) Getting the little boat across to Keyhaven and walking back from the castle along the shingle spit, then having lunch at Lymington at the Ship and taking a walk around the seafront.
16) Becoming a volunteer Shepherdess and getting back to The Chalk, which is my landscape.
17) Photography. I love taking photos, and writing the blog has made me see the places we go and the things we do in different terms, with a view to recording them.
And finally, my favourite times of all:
18) Sharing a bottle of champers and a takeaway in front of the fire while watching something gorgeous on tele with my husband.
About now we usually write a list of the things we'd like to have achieved by the time New Year's Eve comes round the following year. M's is generally full of bettering running times over various distances, competing in several gnarly off-road races and extending his cooking range. Mine tends to be more along the lines of knitting projects and writing projects and trying to think more positively about people who exasperate me (this last one makes an appearance every year so clearly it still needs work!). F's surrounds metal detecting finds wish lists, J usually makes a list and then forgets about it and L often doesn't worry about list making and just gets on with life as it presents itself.
What does your list for 2014 look like?
Wishing all of you a bright, sunlit and merry new year with many happy moments, lots of blessings and plenty of reasons to laugh out loud. And lots of singing, which I plan to do more of next year.
See you in 2014.
Take Care All,
Here are a selection of some of my favourite moments from 2013. Remember these?
Have a good evening all :-)