Thursday, 19 January 2017

Looking Back On 2016

I can't believe that it's already time to write another one of these customary end-of-year posts (even if I am over a fortnight late writing it!), where I either look back on the good times and my accomplishments from the past year with sentimental fondness or have a pity party for one thinking about the bad times and everything I didn't achieve.

This year? Well, it's probably going to be a bit of both.

I wish that I could say that 2016 was the greatest year of my life, that it was made up of nothing but amazing experiences, proud accomplishments, health, wealth, and happiness, but if I did I would be lying. 2016 was actually one of the hardest and most challenging years I've ever lived, thanks in large part to my health which deteriorated and evolved further over the year.

My chronic pain worsened making every day even more challenging than it was a year before.

The pain and stiffness in my bones and joints increased enormously, and started to have a profound effect on my flexibility and most worryingly, the use of my hands, regularly stiffening in to claws and creating difficulty with every day tasks like writing, brushing my hair, and buttoning clothes, after a life time of being mild enough to barely slow me down in my day to day life.

And in the Summer, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and spondylitis, adding to my list of chronic illnesses, and bringing an unignorable permanence to this life of chronic pain and illness I wanted to believe was only temporary. It wasn't a shock, especially as I had suspected I had fibromyalgia for years, but I admit now and then my mental health suffered as the reality hit me and I freaked out about living the rest of my life with chronic pain and illness. I guess I'm still trying to get my head around it, and make peace with it, but it's a relief to finally have an explanation for some of my symptoms. (Especially the brain fog, and forgetfulness).

I spent the majority of the year on bed rest, existing but not really living; just doing my best to co-exist with my good friend chronic pain, who didn't leave my side for one waking second all year. Jerk. My health didn't allow me much opportunity to live a normal life, live my life to the full, or even leave the house often in 2016, but I concentrated on making the best of the life I was living at that moment, instead of wallowing around and mourning the life I was missing out on, and feeling sorry for myself. 

I read, I wrote, I blogged, I watched movies, I snapped a ton of photos, I tried to edit them. I educated myself, I listened to music, I played computer games, I coloured, I crafted, I cross stitched regularly, I taught myself how to blanket stitch, and made a bunch of hoop art for the first time. I found joy in the little things in life, particularly in making and creating stuff, and focused on taking life one day at a time. I like to think I got by okay. Most of the time I stayed happy and upbeat.

Of course, the one thing that really made a difference to my life in 2016 was the arrival of my very first dog, Rosie, on the 1st of March. Taking on a ten week old puppy was a whole new adventure, a learning curve, and often rather challenging, especially trying to keep up with her crazy antics and endless energy with chronic pain screaming at me to rest, but it was always worth it. She gave me companionship, affection, something to aim for, and a reason to coax myself out of bed as often as I could bare. I spent longer out of bed than I did in years, and even managed to reverse my osteomalacia (adult rickets / vitamin D deficiencies) from all the time I spent with her in the garden! That crazy little hound gave me so many reasons to smile and laugh, and even when she was being a little terror, she always brightened my day. Life is so much better with her around to keep me on my toes.

While I was house bound and bed ridden for the majority of the year, I was able to get out and about every now and then, visit new places and some old favourites, and have a little fun.

I visited a beautiful bluebell woods close to home in the Spring.
My best friend and her son came to visit for a few days in April.
I took two trips to The Cotswold Wildlife Park.
I went to an open day of a private zoo of animal actors.
I saw Ronan Keating in concert. Twice. In one weekend.
I visited the Bournemouth aquarium.
I spent about fifteen minutes enjoying the view of Bournemouth beach from the sea front.
I very briefly passed through Arundel and saw Arundel Castle.
I stayed overnight in sunny Brighton, and saw parts of it in the daylight for the first time, including the sea and the pier. (Albeit from the car).
I had my first Five Guys at the very pretty Brighton Marina.
I went to Bourton-on-the-Water twice; once in October, and once in December, for the Christmas lights turn on.
I went on a few random drives close to home and stumbled up on pretty places in The Cotswolds I'd never seen before.
And every once in a while, I tagged along in to Oxford, Cheltenham, and Bicester Village with the sister on short shopping trips.

I didn't get out and about often, but when I did, I tried to make it count, and I have plenty of good memories to look back on from 2016.

I may not have reached any of the milestones many people my age have reached by now like marriage, kids, living in my own home, travelling the world, earning a comfortable wage, having a high-flying career, and an amazing social life, but under the circumstances, I think I did okay, and had a lot to be thankful for in 2016. I know there will have been many people who had it a lot worse than me, and I try to remember that. My year was challenging, but it could have been worse.

There are things I regret and wish I'd done differently in 2016, and most of those relate to the blog. I regret that I wasn't able to blog as regularly or consistently as I had in the past, or blog about all the things I wanted to. I wasn't happy with the quality of my photos or some of the work I did post, and I'm ashamed that I let my interaction and reliability slide, but those are all things I intend to work on in 2017, and I promise to give it my best shot. I kinda like hanging out around these parts with you guys! I did work with some wonderful brands, though, and amazingly, I reached over 16,500 Pinterest followers by the end of the year, which is insane! I know that's not a lot to most bloggers, but for me and my little blog, it's crazy and a milestone I'm proud of! Thanks for following along, and for all your support in 2016- you guys are awesome!

Favourite Posts From 2016
642 Things To Write About Me Book Review
My Mystical Wonderland Adult Colouring Book Review
What I Got For Christmas 2015
What I Wore | Tartan Revival
What I Wore | Red and Green Should Never Be Seen
Love Hearts and Scarlet Kisses
We're Getting A Puppy!
Puppy Spam | Rosie 10-12 Weeks Old
Puppy Spam | Rosie 12-16 Weeks Old
Puppy Spam | Rosie 4-6 Months Old
Thoughts That Go Through My Head In Hospital Waiting Rooms
The Cotswold Wildlife Park July 2016
Cath Kidston Little Flower Buds Owl Brooch
My Quirky Brooch Collection
My Colourful Patchwork Home Sweet Home Sampler
My Tsum Tsum Collection
Heythrop Zoo Open Day
October Road Trip Day One: Bournemouth
October Road Trip Day Two: Arundel and Arundel Castle
My Chronic Pain and Chronic Illness Christmas Survival Guide
25 Ways To Enjoy Christmas On Bed Rest
Escape To Christmas Past Adult Colouring Book Review
My Merry Christmas Colourful Cross Stitch Sampler
My Handmade Christmas Crackers
Getting Ready For Christmas
What's In My Christmas Eve Box?

I've no idea what 2017 has in store for me with the blog, my health, or any aspect of my life, but I got through 2016 in one piece, and I know I'll do the same this year, no matter what life throws at me. 2017, do you worst! I'm ready for ya!

What was the best thing that happened to you in 2016?


1 comment

  1. I think you managed to achieve a lot given all that was going on with your health and you should be really proud of what you have achieved x I am so glad that you got wee Rosie to keep you company, animals make such a difference to health and happiness!


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