Posted by: seehowfarwevecome | March 25, 2017

Hello 2017

Written in January 2017

It may appear that I’ve had a break from blogging lately, yet the truth is, I have written, but chosen not to publish two blogs of late. The first, Own Every Second I wrote on my flight from Chicago to Newark at the end of September last year. I guess I got busy, and never got to publish it, but it was written and so today, I am pleased to share it with you.

The second blog though, Arabian Oceans and Breaking Taboos was much more personal and I guess, I was not sure whether it was the right place or time to publish it. I wrote in on a recent flight to Sri Lanka, which I toured for 11-days with a group tour company called the Flashpack. The taboo that I was, indeed am, choosing to break, was to talk about my muse, and who she really was/is.

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Sri Lanka’s hillside – November 2016

Readers of See How Far I’ve Come will recall my blogs that reference my muse, as far back as 2011. I don’t see her anymore, but she had a huge impact on my life and ability to manage every curveball and to chase every dream. Today, in 2017, it feels the right time to publish it. I am in a very good place, but can recognise when others are not, so if breaking the taboo of counseling helps someone, just one person, take time out to talk, reflect and ultimately make a change, then publishing Arabian Oceans and Breaking Taboos will have been the right thing to do.

It is January, it’s a Sunday and it’s 2017. I am, unsurprisingly, on a transatlantic flight from London to JFK, ready for a full week of work in our offices on 51st and Broadway and some lovely evenings catching up with some very dear friends whom I have not seen for the last three months. It’s a good time, right now, to reflect on 2016.

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2016 Transatlantic Commuting

For me, 2016 was a completely mixed year, with tremendous highs but some difficult lows too. I got to see and do some amazing things. My travels took me to New York (in February, April, June and October), Chicago (September), Dubai (April), Bologna in Italy (May), Hamburg (May), Cyprus (May), Ibiza (July), the Rocky Mountains, Vancouver Island and Vancouver itself in Central and West Coast Canada (August/September), Sri Lanka (November) and Copehagen in Denmark (December) for some Christmas markets. For someone juggling work and life and travel, it was a pretty perfect year.

Yet 2016 also saw us say a sad goodbye to my aunt, who lost a six-month battle with cancer in June. A race for life in her honour and a subsequent family gathering with my cousins and uncle in October however seemed to help us celebrate her life and laughter and I shall forever remember her grace through her battle.

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A brave auntie

September, however, saw a different kind of grief, when one of my nearest and dearest lost someone extraordinarily close to them to suicide. I got the news whilst Stateside on a work trip, and I wandered around in a daze for a good while that can only possibly be described as 1% of the daze that my nearest and dearest must have been, and continues to, be feeling. It is, perhaps, what prompted my (previously unpublished) blog Arabian Oceans and Breaking Taboos.

Three and a half months on, and undoubtedly it still is, and will always be, the most difficult thing in the world to have to deal with, so I can only hope (we can only hope), that people will realise that there is no shame in talking, in sharing, in seeking help. I can only hope that my broken taboo will help someone, somewhere, who may need to know that counseling is one of the best things you can do for yourself in life. That there are other options out there when it feels like there are none.

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Strong friends breaking taboos – Cyprus, May 2016

The situation for me, perhaps reinforced, the need for us all to take time to work on ourselves. For us to share ourselves with others who have got to a place of finding themselves. My muse, she used to challenge me, often. She would ask me what it would be like for me to let go and let someone else be strong for me. She would enquire what it might be like if I were to stop seeking out the complicated, stopped trying to fix things that others needed to find a way to fix themselves and to instead, stand up ready and waiting to be supported myself.

The notion, always seemed easy but in reality, it’s been hard to find. I spent much of 2016 repeating those same behaviours, finding complicated situations and continuing to expend energy on trying to unravel them; trying to unravel people that hadn’t taken a single step forward to try to help to unravel themselves. Whilst my muse and I parted two years ago, I could hear her exhaling slowly in my head, softly shaking hers in frustration at my continued chipping away at things that would never give.

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Simple intangibles – November 2016

Then September happened. My friend, she experienced the shortest, sharpest loss you can imagine. That thing I had been chasing, those complications I’d invested so much time in, suddenly felt meaningless. This situation, this god-awful situation that my friend found herself in, suddenly shone a light on the need, that real need, to give up on complicated and to let people be responsible for fixing themselves.

Thankfully, something a lot less complicated came my way and I guess, as 2016 began its final quarter, I was in a good place to accept it. I found my intangibles again. I have learnt to trust again. I have learnt to take a risk again. I found a way to allow myself to be supported and I am learning, every day, to let myself be looked after a little, which outside of my family and closest friends, is a pretty new experience for me.

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Racing for life – July 2016

So what else of 2016? Well, I did my first Race For Life in spite of a dodgy hip; I also managed to fracture my elbow and meet an amazing Aussie that didn’t seem to care that my less abled bodied was high on codeine just three days post break (I guess it made conversation flow easier!). I found my love of cooking again, properly, with the help of a former chef and great baker. I also finally got some of my artwork framed and hung up on the walls of my flat – maybe in 2017 I’ll be inspired enough to pick up that paintbrush again?

I did a lot of travel and ticked off more countries on my list (forty countries worldwide thus far, and still counting). I made some new friends in Sri Lanka on the Flashpack tour, and we’re meeting for Hoppers and cocktails in London in a couple of weeks. I did a couple of presentations/speaking events in London and Chicago, and suddenly was herald in an ‘expert’ in something I knew nothing of two years ago.

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Lake Louise, Canada – September 2016

With Tom moving back to the Midlands in the Summer to retrain as a teacher, I found myself living solely with girls for the first time ever and dating stories, cooking tips and candle shopping followed in great strides. We made it to Copenhagen for a girly Xmas shopping trip to peruse the markets in December and had an awesome Halloween evening out in Kensal Green.

Life shifted a lot, in 2016. Work slightly evened its pace, though 2015 had been quite exceptional and conveniently distracting and all encompassing for me. I ticked off some places on my wish list. Canada was breathtaking and seeing grizzly bears in the wild remains an absolute highlight. Dubai was just as glitzy, flamboyant and wild as I imagined it to be.

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Dubai Days – April 2016

There were many highlights to remember. January was dry, kicking off with a New Year’s Day walk in the Derbyshire countryside and ending with a James Bond themed night at the Kensington Roof Gardens with some fab friends.

February brought a snowy work trip to New York, with an amazing meal with great friends and colleagues at the Gramercy Tavern. It was also the month that Tom and I found a dog wandering the streets of West Hampstead, and we promptly took him to Battersea Dogs Home.

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Dubai Nights, April 2016

March arrived with birthday celebrations for Louisa and an early Easter, with a spa visit to Sopwell House and food in Hampstead at the Flask, where my grandad used to drink.

April brought trips to New York (-4 – it was chuffing freezing!) and Dubai (it was frickin’ hot!) with the girls, where we dined, drank, enjoyed shisha and screamed on the rides at Atlantis.

May brought Bologna, Hamburg and Cyprus – I was barely in the country! A family wedding topped the month off nicely. It was all about pasta, fresh seafood and white asparagus, as well as boat rides on the Thames and a lovely walk through the Peak District that will forever be cherished.

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Precious Peak District days, May 2016

June swung around and brought a day at the Polo in Putney, a Warner Music bike ride and a return to (a warmer) New York, before I came back to London and bid Tom a fond farewell to the Midlands and to pay respects to an aunt who had battled hard.

July arrived with a trip with Jade to Ibiza – food, cocktails, sun and sea, the perfect four day respite from London life. A Race for Life in Hyde Park with a celebratory roast dinner and a couple of weddings too, with a visit to Sandbanks. Some nice walks on Hampstead Heath and a fab Andy Murray Wimbledon win watched with pimms from the St Pancras viewing platform.

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Summer Days – Wimbledon Final, St Pancras, June 2016

August arrived with trips to the Isle of Wight and the start of a Canadian adventure. That aside, there was a fab charity ‘blag it’ challenge that our HR team participated in across London in aid of Centrepoint.

September and the Grizzly Bears came to see us in Canada and we got to hang with Fi in Vancouver (and Rob Thomas). The annual Warner Music UK Mainstage event saw the arrival of Biffy Clyro, Jesse Glynne, Busted, Rumer and Liam Gallagher just before a work trip to Chicago. An Aussie arrived on the scene and the worst kind of news for a dear friend shook us all at the end of the month’s close.

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New York nights – June 2016

October and it was adios Chicago and hello again New York to close out a two week work trip. The Goo Goo Dolls returned to Europe and a fab Halloween closed out the month.

November and it was time for a Flashpack trip to Sri Lanka and a visit to Derbyshire to check out the Chatsworth House Christmas Market.

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Christmas with the family – December 2016

December was full of festivities. Warner Music Christmas parties, birthday celebrations and a trip to Copenhagen. A Polish Christmas Eve (Vigilia) with some amazing food and some much need rest and relaxation over the festive period.

So what is next? Well, aside from my New York business trip, I have a trip to Los Angeles in the calendar for work, then an onward trip to Australia (yup, time to head down under again). I’ll be Brisbane bound then onwards to the wonderful Whitsundays for a few days of snorkeling, swimming and sunbathing. Athens is in the diary for a couple of special family birthdays and I’m heading to a music festival in Poland in June. My heart is set on a safari in Tanzania and a trip to Vietnam, Jordan and Tromso, but I’ll be making some tough choices with that wish list given my 2017 annual leave allowance.

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New Year, new intangibles

2016 was a year of loss and gain for me. Tremendous, amazing step forwards in life counterbalanced by grief, yet those that have passed continue to teach us to live. So here we are 2017, hello. New York bound, onwards to my second home. I’m excited to see it, to see my friends. Yet I know how far I have come and how much now, London, really, really feels like home.

 

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