This last decade has had some of the biggest struggles and hard times I think that I have ever known. It has been one of the biggest period’s of growth personally and also a chance to really get to know myself (and be confident in that). The last 10 years has also held so many celebrations and seen our marriage go from young newly weds to solid partners and lovers; with a deeper understanding, love, respect and appreciation for one another – truly the best of friends!
We have grown from a family of 2 to a family of 6 – sent 2 kids off to school and accomplished things that were once only a dream!
We have travelled, been to concerts, bought houses, numerous cars (mostly bangers) tried new things, laughed and cried – lots, and built a life we love.
The last decade has certainly had some of the biggest milestones and blessings I have seen so far in my 35 years and I cannot even begin to fathom all of the amazing and wonderful things that have come out of this decade of life (it actually leaves me speechless!). But one thing’s for sure – I am truly blessed and grateful; for my husband and marriage, becoming a mother 4 times over, our life and lifestyle, and having so many opportunities laid in my path to become more and live more joyfully.
I never want to over shadow pain and struggle because it needs to be felt and acknowledged and it would be wrong to gloss over the fact that this decade threw at us possibly one of the worst things in life – to bury one of our children. We also lost Nath’s dad and my granddad – both mighty men whose losses are felt daily in our lives. It has brought us many a dark and gut wrenching day, filled with sorrow and moments of wondering why and if we could continue?! We have had periods of being completely skint and days where we have just written them off! But all of these trying and painful moments, with time, have also been ones that showed us a lot about life, empathy, inner strength and what truly matters in life. These moments completely sucked and they were awful, but they also changed us in so many ways, deepened our relationship and moulded us.
The last 10 years have been tough for several reasons – they have been filled with hard times and sadness, Setbacks and failures, heartache and massive loss. But when I look back on the last decade, it is also very clear that we have been richly blessed with a lovely home, a stronger marriage, 4 beautiful children, so many incredible adventures, personal accomplishments and some extraordinary moments. And, even in those sad times, there were small moments of joy that kept us going.
We have had countless special times together – sometimes just sat watching our favourite box set, something one of the kids said or whilst walking in nature. We have had plenty of laughter in life and it has been really good to take this turn of a decade to acknowledge all of that – the growth, the highlights and the blessed moments. So in the last half hour of 2019, I sat in the corner of the sofa surrounded by family playing games and chatting, whilst hits of the decade played over head (what classics we had!) and I listed these monumental things that stood out for me – the highlights of the last decade – the things to truly be grateful for. I know there are many more – the daily successes, the little trips swimming, to the park and funtimes with my friends and family. There’s all the kids milestones that made my heart so full and their school plays and cuddles. But these are just the big ones – the pivotal moments that set in motion all of those small and special moments and memories that have made our lives great these last 10 years.
Highlights of this last decade:
* Becoming a mother… 4 times over and seeing 2 start school. It is the hardest, most wonderful, exhausting and incredible thing! Ain’t no hood like motherhood!! (insert gang sign emoji)
* Buying our first house – a back to back terrace in Leeds. And then selling it and buying our 2nd home in the country. It was a massive change from Leeds, but we love our lifestyle in the country and our little semi (it is beautiful here).
* Lots of travel – Ireland (Dublin), Spain (Malaga), Italy (Lake Garda, Verona, Venice, Milan, Genoa, Florence, Pisa, Rome, Siena, Tuscany), The USA (LA/Hollywood, Arizona & The Grand Canyon, Utah, Vegas), Prague, Hamburg, Scotland 3x (Perth, Dumfries & Galloway, Edinburgh), London (several times over), Oxford, France (Paris, Versaille, Le Mans, Vendee, Caens War cemeteries), Amsterdam, Derbyshire, Cornwall (more than once), Wales, and lots of Yorkshire adventures!
* Started a blog and have countless opportunities from it – my favourite being To Tuscany, Hamburg, National Theatre London, Working with the Leeds and Hull Theatres, clothing reviews, Simba and reviewing some great local attractions. Mostly I love that I have discovered a passion for writing and photography and learnt about social media, web design etc It is a fun hobby and side hustle!
* Discovered counselling as one of my purposes in life and passed the first 2 years of it. It has been so hard to study around a family and life changing to study such deep feelings and stuff. But, it is so interesting to study and it makes me excited. I am now on the home run and cannot wait to see where it leads and what area of it I study next.
* I gained qualifications in baby massage and yoga which enabled me to work minimal hours whilst being a SAHM
* I learnt to play the Clarinet and took my Grade 1 (we will leave that there, but it was fun).
* I Supported my husband through 4 years of uni and loved seeing him graduate! At the end of last year he came out of work to do a PGCE – its been another change but a good move!
* Numerous days out around the country to discover historic and beautiful places.
* Welcomed 17 nieces and nephews into the world – all so beautiful and perfect. I love how many cousins my kids have and that many more are sure to come!
* Gained 3 more brother in laws
* I was on Tv and the radio talking about baby loss – I also spoke at a seminar for Drs and health providers.
* I completed the Yorkshire 3 peaks
Life is never going to be all rosey or easy, but it doesn’t stop it being joyful and blessed. I love the life we have built so far together and the things we do and enjoy together. Yes there are things I wish were different and we have many pains that intertwine with our joys, but no amount of wishing can change what is. Instead, I head into this next decade with gratitude in my soul for the amazing life I have and the wonderful people I share it with. I am thankful for the incredible things we have experienced so far and all of the little moments that make it so full – they are the things that keep me going.
One of my favourite quotes at the moment says: “Gratitude helps us see what is there, instead of what isn’t”! Comparison and moaning, I have learnt will get us nowhere. It only blocks our ability to be thankful for what is ours. We must try to live and appreciate our life and its uniqueness – our own journey’s and blessed moments.
So here’s to 2020 and all that has brought me to this point in the last decade. Because of these highlights I am a different person to who I was 10 years ago. I feel more, think more and I know myself more – I also have so much more than I did before – my heart and arms are full and I am truly thankful for that. I look forward to making plans and seeing what awaits in this coming year and decade too (though the latter can slow down a bit because in another 10 I will have adult kids and that is awfully scary to even think about!).