So, here we are. Another year has been and gone and I can’t believe only a couple of weeks ago I was saying good riddance to 2017. So much happened during the last 12 months, and I was happy to hold a middle finger up to it and send it on its way. I didn’t even stay up to see the old year out and the new one in – I was over it and found myself tucked up in bed before 11pm, only to be woken at midnight by a million fireworks going off.
I realise there’s no magic door that separates the old year from the new one, but there is something satisfying about waking up on New Year’s Day. It’s like a clean slate. A new start. A time to move forward and plan for the year ahead. I love those feelings of positivity and determination, which 2 days later are replaced with the familiar feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. No? Just me then.
2017 was many things. Including,
Challenging, overwhelming and emotional
Just like the previous year, 2017 was filled with overwhelm. And if I had to describe it in three words (which I did in Susannah Conway’s Unravel Your Year), I would describe it as challenging, overwhelming and emotional.
As I recently said on Instagram, just because the photos are pretty it doesn’t mean everything is peachy behind the scenes. My dad had been in and out of the hospital for over a year, which ended with life-changing consequences for our family. Especially my parents. It’s been a huge adjustment for everyone, but luckily, we’re a family that deals with things using humour – most of the time in bad taste. Without this coping mechanism though, everything would have just gone to shit.
We also lost our pretty princess, Henry. She was 19 ½ and had a few health issues which were under control, but unfortunately, she’d started to deteriorate in other areas due to her age. In October, both the vet and I agreed Henry would be ready to leave us soon, but not quite yet. We needed a sign, and a few weeks later my little princess gave us one.
Henry used to sleep on me at night and early one morning I woke to her having a seizure. The vet had warned me this could happen, but it was a shock when it did. I had to wait until it was over before I could comfort her which was awful. She was disoriented, and I was terrified of going back to sleep. The following day she lost the use of her back legs and that’s when we had to call the vet. We were absolutely heart-broken.
Losing my princess hit me hard and I still listen out for her at night, thinking she’s going to jump on the bed for snuggles.
The house cost us a fortune this year. Yes, we bought it because it needed renovating, but unfortunately, it turned out the work that needed doing ran deeper than we initially thought. I’ve wanted to up and leave about a million times during the past year, but we made the decision to buy it, so we just need to man the fuck up and get on with it. Hopefully, a lot of the more expensive things have been dealt with now and this year I can concentrate on some decorating and making things look pretty.
But the year wasn’t all bad.
I went back to work
Health and fitness has been a big part of my life for so long. I spent 5 years teaching aerobics and a few years working as a gym instructor. I’m also a qualified personal trainer. I’d been wanting to get back into the fitness industry for a while, but wasn’t sure in which capacity, so in March last year I randomly took a course in sports & exercise nutrition. Then in November last year, I started work as a part-time gym instructor. It suits me perfectly at the moment because I can easily fit my printing business around it.
I’ve had some other offers that I’m currently looking into and I’ve got some ideas of my own that I also want to explore. So far, things are looking positive – although perhaps a little overwhelming.
I have a blog post coming soon with my thoughts on going back to work.
I switched up my exercise
Even with everything that went on last year, I still managed to work out 6 days a week. Some days I hit the road instead of the gym and other days I stayed home and did a circuit, T25 or a YouTube video. Working out is my coping mechanism, how I function and non-negotiable. It also helps that I enjoy it! Last year showed me I had to be flexible in order to squeeze in my exercise fix and this year is shaping up to be the same so far.
I’ll be sharing some of my favourite YouTube videos soon.
I found new running routes & ran the Preston 10k
I fell out of love with running early in 2017, but my passion was soon reignited when we discovered the Preston Guild Wheel. This opened-up some amazing running routes, and I fell in love with it all over again. Is it easy? Hell no! Running doesn’t come naturally to me, but it’s still something I love.
I also ran the Preston 10k. My time was slower than I would have liked, due to a section of the route that bottlenecked while people filtered down into a single lane track. But overall, I was happy with how it went and this year I’d like to take part in more events.
I explored new places
I’m not shy when it comes to shouting about how much I love the Lake District. But 2017 also saw us cheating on the Lakes a couple of times with the Forest of Bowland and parts of Cheshire.
Stocks Reservoir and Nelson Pit No.7 were two of my favourite walks from last year. Even though they were a little boggy! It just made it even more fun. Especially when walking Stocks Reservoir and Ian dropped his sandwich. We watched it roll down a hill into a mucky stream and then through hysterical laughter I pondered out loud if tinfoil was waterproof. Unfortunately, it wasn’t so I had to share my lunch with him. The mud, cold, and sandwich rolling pretty much summed up the whole day. But they’re the days I love. The days where things don’t go to plan.
I also found myself on adventures with my bestie visiting Holker Hall, Sizergh Castle, Martin Mere, Brockholes, Levens Hall, New Brighton beach and the Cat Cafe in Manchester. Considering the year I had, I’m amazed I managed to visit anywhere at all!
I finally closed the doors on my photography business
Even though I announced in December 2016 that I would be closing the doors on my photography business, I didn’t actually do it until May 2017. Sometimes previous clients come out of the woodwork and you just can’t turn them down. It was nice to do a few last shoots, but it also reminded me why I wanted to close the doors and move onto pastures new. I have no regrets whatsoever and I closed my business with a lovely shoot of a small country cottage holiday let.
Last year was tough. But it showed me I’m stronger than I give myself credit for. There were days where I just wanted to give up. I wanted to hibernate and never speak to another living soul again. But somehow, I got through it and came back stronger. This year, I’m looking forward to getting organised, working on a new business venture, exploring the great outdoors and doing more things that make my heart sing.
How’s your 2018 shaping up so far?