Firewirks over Sydney Opera House

Firewirks over Sydney Opera House

Friday, 6 January 2012


As usual, my lack of original thinking as left me seizing on someone else's comments for inspiration! Tee hee Peridot's mention of the Roman God Janus set me thinking. I've been wanting to do a spot of navel-gazing for a few weeks but, for some reason, my posts have stuck to the resolutely practical and factual. So the mention of Janus, the two-headed gatekeeper who looks backwards over the year just ended and forwards towards the year just starting, has provided enough of an excuse for me to get started. Yay, thanks Peri!

Last year. 2011. My overall impression is that it was a very good year. I think of it as being suffused with a rosy glow of being in love and loved. Of lots of golf, football, nice meals, cuddles, a pretty house, a nice holiday, happy families and of the hurts of the previous year receding and fading.

That's not very scientific though, is it?? "Suffused with a rosy glow" could hide a multitude of cans of warts....

Truly, when I cast my mind back, the beginning of the year was not that great. The winter was hard which caused issues with driving to work and working from home was still somewhat frowned upon. Despite having a working open fireplace my previous landlady, for her own irritating reasons, had asked me not to use it so the house was quite cold. I was then, for the same irritating reasons, given notice to leave the cottage after just 6 months which prompted Rich and I to decide to move in together properly, ie him to give up his virtually unlived-in flat and to find a place together. Although for a good cause, that caused several months of anxiety while finding a suitable place which would take dogs in the required timescale. Then there were the 2 moves themselves which were hard work and expensive.

This takes us up to 1 April. In the meantime, I was trying to get my old house cleaned and tidied and ready to be put on the market. D had left the place in a tip and I had to take 2 full weeks leave in order to do the work. This was further hampered by not being able to do anything while he was around and by him draining the system down without notice meaning these weeks had to be jigged around at the last minute and under pressure. This was not a happy time really; being up to one's elbows in the grubby detritus of one's former marital home is a guaranteed way to be reminded of the bad times, believe me.

At that time, D was still technically living locally while not on the rig so, although he wasn't around much, there was always the possibility of contact and the tension that resulted from it. Things were still, back then, very raw. There was a huge amount of conversations and correspondence with my solicitor and the angst and expense that came with them.

Our divorce came through in May although financial arrangements would not be sorted for some time thereafter. I can't say that the actual fact of being divorced caused any particular reaction. I was neither happy nor sad, relieved nor regretful. I don't mean to sound as though marriage means nothing to me by that - merely that, my mourning for a failed marriage had been done long ago, mostly during the marriage itself. The decree was just a piece of paper which was read and then discarded. The bottle of champagne in the fridge door which I had thought might be opened in celebration was not even considered.

Even Sheffield Wednesday couldn't provide much solace. Last season limped to a pathetic end and, while we were not in grave danger of relegation at the end, the standard of play was woeful and there was very little joy at Hillsborough. But we weren't relegated again, thank God and we were saved from the debt which dogged us by our current hero chairman, Milan Mandaric. February brought us a new, decent manager in the form of lifelong Owl Gary Megson so hope was starting to grow at Sheffield 6.

Things really began to settle down in early summer. Our lives settled into a nice routine of golf and walking and I started to get the new house knocked into shape. The routines of our lives stabilised into happy ones.

My weight has, over the 2011, gone up a bit, down a bit, up a bit and ended around the same. Exercise and fitness likewise. We had been intending to train to do the Three Peaks in July but, given all the upheavals of spring knew we would not be able to devote enough time to it so pulled out. This was a sensible decision but also a shame.

Positives over the year were the golf - my love of the game grew greatly; I became a lot more confident playing new courses and tougher mentally. Negatives were that we didn't carve out enough time to go on decent hikes. That had been a feature of our first year together which I loved. I WILL make sure that we do more walking in 2012! Lots of dog walks but not so many day long walks. Despite financial pressures, I managed to maintain my personal training throughout the year which is important to me. I was doing well in going to swimming and pump classes in the gym near work for much of the summer/autumn but this is now under pressure due to our office move.

With autumn came a lovely holiday in Northumberland. Heaven, heaven, bliss, bliss. We will be going back.

Since the new season started, Sheffield Wednesday has been BRILLIANT! We're second in the table and Rich and I haven't seen them lose yet, home or away! We've had fun away trips to Hartlepool, Sheffield United, Tranmere, Oldham and Preston. My fingers are crossed. Long may it continue.

Our families have been a big plus. My father had been a bit raw about the split in 2010. Struggling to understand why I had left D and feeling guilty that he had not known how bad things had been nor been able to help me. He was always brilliant and supportive with me but wasn't ready to meet Rich for a while until his mind had caught up with the reality of the situation. Once they met though, it's been great. Rich and Dad get on well and Rich makes it very easy for me to see plenty of them and is willing to visit or have them visit us often. It's nice and relaxed. His family have always welcomed me with open arms which is great. I hope that's because they think I'm good news for Richard. We saw lots of all of them last year, probably more than Rich would normally do if truth be known...

Other downsides:

It's a shame that my old house has still not sold which means that financial pressures continue but I've managed to get these on a more even keel so, although I'm not awash with cash, we're comfortable and stable.

Not much travelling. See above. It'd be nice to be able to plan more exotic holidays but that will come.

The move to our new offices at work has meant that my job seems a bit "harder". Hopefully this will disappear in time.

I've lost some friends through the divorce. It's a shame but I have plenty of real friends and would see it as their loss. (Well, I would, wouldn't I??)

I had a horrid 9 week spell of illness in the autumn....grrr.

Other upsides:

More working from home is great - more dog-walking, less driving, cheaper, it just makes life easier.

Plenty of good times with good friends.

I've done loads more cooking and developed a wider repertoire of interesting meals.

Christmas was gorgeous.

I worked through the painful feelings from my divorce and marriage and came to an understanding of what happened, why and my part in it.

I'm still as much in love with Rich and he with me as we were at the beginning of the year. Long may it last.

So, my initial rosy glow was not far from the mark. Every challenge has been met with a generally happy heart. When I have been down and sad, Rich has listened and responded. I've learned to be a lot more confident in us than I was and less frightened of even the most minor of confrontations. I also relaxed. And grew up some more. So....I hope 2012 is as good but maybe a little less momentous if you don't mind....


Peridot said...

This was good to read (and not because I get a mention!). It's been quite a year for you and it seems to be that you've weathered the storms and are in a tranquil period out the other side. And long may THAT last.


Claire said...

Loving that review and it made me consider how much happier you seem now than you were before. The change suits you very much and for that I am very glad. x

Isabelle said...

Yes, that post gave me a very warm glow on your behalf. Excellent!