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  • Writer's pictureLara

How was it for you?

Updated: Jan 14, 2019

So farewell 2018. What we thought would turn out to be a normal year ended up throwing us a curved ball that will make 2019 interesting to say the least.

In January I reduced my working week to 4 days, a decision that has turned out to be one of my better ones. My work/life balance has improved immensely and even those Fridays that I spent doing housework and chores proved stress-reducing as it meant no more conflict with a long line cleaners who didn’t know how to clean. The Fridays that I wasn’t cleaning I used to do things I wanted to do; I joined Weight Watchers, went to exhibitions, met friends, and most often, I drove up to Norwich on the Friday morning which meant that we had much more of a weekend up there than we ever had before.

In February we said goodbye to our cocker spaniel, darling Smudge. At the age of nearly 12 she had been showing signs of canine dementia and after several months of no sleep for us and a rapidly reducing quality of life for her, we made the heart breaking decision to let her go. We miss her very much and cannot even contemplate getting another dog for now.

In March we spent a week in Iceland, a trip I enjoyed planning as much as I did taking it. Iceland is absolutely incredible, also incredibly expensive, but I would urge anyone thinking of going to absolutely do so. You can read more about it here. We returned to a mini Iceland of our own as the Beast from the East swept across the UK.

April and May saw many birthdays and our 3rd wedding anniversary, but also the start of the “Summer of 2018” which left us mid-lifers reminiscing about the Summer of 76. What an absolutely glorious summer it was; we wore t-shirts and skirts to outdoor music festivals instead of the ubiquitous wellies, we left the house for weeks without worrying about whether it might rain later or get chilly in the evenings. We went away for weekends without having to pack for every season. Everyone smiled, except maybe those having to use public transport, who just melted.

July brought the very sad news that Kate Sutton had died suddenly and the blogging community, which has received so much negative press recently rallied to raise thousands for Kate’s sons, and celebrated her life with the hashtag #bemorewitwitwoo. Hundreds of us donned our bikinis and swim suits one Saturday and (bravely) posted photos on social media, in the absolute spirit of Kate and her outlook on life. Life genuinely is short.

Wear the dress, eat the damn cake, share the bikini photos.

July also brought life changing news of our own when Ian found out he was being made redundant. Information was slow in coming after the initial announcement and the long consultation period and in the end we didn’t find out when he would finish until after we returned from our holiday in September. After 37 years working in the City, he finished work in October. He has set up his own consultancy and has other irons in the fire but otherwise he has spent his new free time on his photography, something that he wants to pursue in 2019. He is still getting used to the time he has on his hands, which may sound like a nice problem to have, but when you’ve been working since you were a teenager, it’s going to take a while to come to terms with not having that structure.

Our big holiday this year in September was spent in Kenya, on safari followed by a few nights at the coast. Kenya blew me away, I couldn’t believe how different it was to South Africa, where we went in 2017. Safari holidays themselves aren’t what you’d call relaxing - you are on the go all the time - but for 2 weeks we focussed on ourselves, our photography and Kenya, and stopped worrying about everything else.

We ended the year with a quiet December, and 3 different Christmas days to accommodate our lovely blended family spread across several counties. And last night we had dinner for 2 at home and talked about 2019.

All being well in 94 days I will also be finishing work. Not that I’m counting or anything… We have trips planned to Cyprus and Berlin already this year, with a driving tour of the North of England in the pipeline for the early summer, and hopefully we will realise our dream to visit the Galapagos Islands in September/October. When we talk about travel it’s clear that Ian still has a way to go before he’s fully absorbed the fact that we aren’t answerable to anyone anymore, friends have told him it may take at least a year for him to fully take it in. I hope he’s at least half way there by the time I finish in April, as I suspect I will need some help absorbing it too!

I hope you had a wonderful 2018, and that in the rush to reassess yourself for 2019 you find out that actually, you’re pretty awesome as you are. My only resolution for this year is to #bemorewitwitwoo

Happy New Year!
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