What 2021 taught me

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2021 was a funny old year wasn’t? I started it allowing myself to feel a tiny bit hopeful that we would see the end of Covid’s impact on our day to day lives. In reality, it has been so confusing and tiring that I now see 2021 and 2020 as one big blur in my head. I let that tiny bit of hope on the 31st December 2020 encourage me to throw some ideas out into the Universe just incase something sticks. I didn’t end up consistently using Duolingo but I did use Olio a lot more. I gave up on 1 second every day (because I missed a day or two and then the perfectionist in me told me I might as well stop all together) but I did buy a house. So I’m taking that as a win. Even though the past year has been an absolute clusterfuck, it has taught me a lot and I wanted to take a bit of time to appreciate those lessons.

January
January taught me that I could get through hard things. We went into our 3rd lockdown in our one bed flat and we did all we could to keep our spirits up (strictly no Zoom quizzes). I fell off my bike and then made myself ride it home again because I knew if I didn’t, I’d have the wobblies forever. I went for walks and runs with friends, even in the snow. It was a slow start to the year but I leaned into it.

March
March taught me that sometimes smaller Birthdays are better. It was my 30th this month and I always thought that my 30th would be when I would go all out. I am usually pretty extra when it comes to my Birthdays and stretch out the attention as long as I can with numerous different plans with different friendship groups and family members. It’s fun until it isn’t and I end up exhausted and inevitably have a break down. Instead of launching into a week long festival style celebration of another year of me I spent the day with Zoe in our flat. She gave me a spa day, made an amazing charcuterie board lunch, organised an online horror escape room with my best friends and made it v.v.special. I loved every minute of it and it’s encouraged me to keep my Birthday small going forward – it’s much nicer.



June
June taught me that I am a real grown up when Zoe and I got the keys for our new house. The process of buying a house was eXtremely stressful and I could have just summed up January – May by saying ‘These months taught me that buying a house is hard’. It was so worth it in the end. We found our dream house that we could make our own, it has 2 bedrooms, a dining room, a kitchen, a living room, a dining room and a garden! It’s in a lovely pocket of Bristol and I now say every day, without fail ‘I love this house’. It’s the best thing I have ever done, with the best person I have ever met.



July

July taught me that I should take myself on dates often. Growing up, I haaaated spending time by myself and regularly spent the Summer holidays counting down until the start of school but as I have grown up I love being on my own. I love being selfish with my time and doing exactly what I want to do. It fills up my self love cup and makes me a nicer person to be around once I am done being by myself. This month I took myself on solo lunch dates and solo cinema trips to see musicals that no-one else wants to see. I sand along, ate popcorn and cried. It’s better than therapy (not really – *see November).

August

August taught me that holidaying in the UK can be wonderful. We went on a mini road-trip of Cornwall for a week and spent our days swimming in the sea, walking, reading, eating and being together. I highly recommend it. August also taught me that I really wanted guinea pigs for pets (who I am kidding) I’ve known since I was 14 and my last of 4 guinea pigs passed away – RIP Snowy, Sooty, Patch and Fudge, that as soon as I had a house of my own, I wanted piggies back in my life. After some excellent persuading/begging on my part – Zoe agreed and after our holiday, I picked up Rhubarb and Custard who quickly changed my life forever. I completely fell in love with them, my mental health improved and I honestly felt like the luckiest girl in the world to call them mine.

September

September taught me that I didn’t want to drink anymore. There was no final blow out or bad drunken decision which lead to this but more a quiet bubbling under the surface which finally came to a solid plan this month. Zoe sent me this article last week and it absolutely sums up how I feel about alcohol. Because I am rubbish with rules and any thing I commit to I immediately want to rebel against I am not saying I am sober and never drinking again. If I want to drink, I will but so far I haven’t wanted to and I am thoroughly enjoying the benefits of that.

October
October taught me that grieving for a pet is necessary and the pain of this loss is very real. A tragedy meant that Rhubarb and Custard were taken from us far too soon. It is no exaggeration to say that my heart shattered. Just before this loss I was signed off work for 1 month due to declining mental health and the loss of the girls came at the worst possible time. However, October also taught me that processing difficult things has to happen for you to be able to move forward. I spent this month doing a lot of crying but I also spent this month leaning on loved ones and letting myself be held. It was very tough but very necessary.

November

November taught me that I deserve good things. I was able to adopt 2 senior guinea pigs from a local rescue and although they won’t ever replace Rhubarb and Custard, they helped my heart to heal. They are called Cookie and Snoop and I am obsessed with them. I returned to work and felt calmer, more present and confident. However, October and November also taught me that I needed some more therapy. However much I begrudged the cost, the results have been worth it sevenfold. I felt safe to share things I have never shared before and I put in the work. I found someone who helped change my relationship with my body and food forever.



December

December taught me about rest which is a lesson I need often. An ongoing issue with my knees saw me finally visiting a physio who has signed me off running for around 3 months and given me daily exercises to do. I am hopeful that I will be back racing soon but for now I am taking things slowly and enjoying swimming, walking and stretching. I also followed a busy Christmas with a lovely few days of resting (my final day before the return going to work being tomorrow) and I feel really refreshed for it. Endless cups of tea, cross stitch and reading have made me very happy – as well as regular guinea pig cuddles.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the year ahead will teach me. 2022, I’m ready for you.

2021 and Lockdown 3.0

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We glugged the sweet fizz of prosecco as we saw in the New Year with (the rightful King of the Castle) Jordan North. We grabbed panettone by the fistful and danced to 80’s pop and I allowed myself to feel quietly optimistic about 2021. Like a modern day Cinderella I wanted the stroke of midnight to mean something and instead of leaving my shoe on the staircase as I ran outside, I wanted to leave the pandemic and all the other shit we’re carrying and firmly close the door behind me. But no such luck. We opened the door and outside there was a thick frosty fog filling the streets. You couldn’t even see your hand infront of your face and it didn’t feel like a very good omen. But hey, stranger things have happened and maybe 2021 really will be the year that all my dreams come true.

I have a love/hate relationship with new years resolutions. For a long time they would be a reason to berate myself into a new diet or exercise regime to shrink myself as much as possible. In more recent times, they would be an opportunity to say ‘THIS IS THE YEAR I WILL LOVE MY BODY NO MATTER WHAT OK’ and then 3 days later when I am squeezing into some leggings and not feeling so kind with my inner thoughts, I would have officially ruined my resolution and face planted the entire contents of my fridge. Rules don’t work for me, even if they’re positive ones.

So instead of resolutions, this year I’ve put our 3 hopes into the Universe. One is a big one and the other ones are a little bit silly. If I don’t achieve any of them then everything will still be ok and the world will keep on turning. This is the first year I didn’t even consider making any resolutions that revolve around my body which is extremely refreshing. So instead..

A house

I would really really like to buy a house this year. It would be nice to have more space and a garden but if that doesn’t work out, we have a little flat which is home and a place I feel safe in and that is more than enough.

Olio & Duolingo

I would really really like to use these apps a bit more. But if I don’t collect ‘x’ amount of bags for life full of gone off pastries or complete a 300 day streak of learning french.. c’est la vie!

1 second a day

I would really really like to remember to record my 1 second video every day so on the 31st December 2021 I have something nice to look at and if I don’t remember one day that isn’t a call for me to give up completely and instead just to pick it up when I remember again.

The stakes of all of these hopes are low, lower than low, the lowest because none of them actually really matter. If seeing the 1st January as a blank slate works for you then you do you but I am done with the pressure. Besides, I think we all have quite enough to be dealing with right now trying to keep up with if we are allowed to hug our nan, meet up in a pissing cold park, or stay 1 or 2 meter’s apart from the lurker in the corner shop.

God speed into lockdown 3 and again, please don’t invite me to your Zoom quiz.