Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Looking Back On 2017

Happy New Year, everyone!

I hope you had a wonderful New Year's, and you're not still nursing a horrific hangover. How did you all celebrate it this year?

Me? I unfortunately spent New Year's Eve in bed feeling like death with a horrendous fever, temperature, headache, and nausea, so I wasn't able to celebrate at all this year. I spent all day in bed with a flannel on my head too ill to even read a book, so it wasn't exactly the New Year's Eve I had in mind. I haven't felt so sick in years. Thankfully, I awoke yesterday morning feeling so much better, but still a little tender, so I had another quiet day in bed, and managed to drag myself downstairs for a New Year's roast with my family in the evening. I hope it was just a weird twenty-four hour bug, and not the start of the flu, because one day of that was enough!

As I've been ill, I'm a little behind with my blog content. I still have a few Christmas posts to blog and my goals for the year ahead, but first I'm going to catch up with a look back on 2017.

I can't believe we've already said "goodbye" to another year, and that it's time to write another one of these customary end of year posts to look back on the last twelve months of my life with fondness or regret. I'd swear it was only a few months since I wrote the last one... where did the year go?? It feels like the entire year just flew by.

I'll be honest, 2017 was not the greatest year for myself or my family, and I'm glad to see the back of it. There was a lot of loss and illness within my family, and far more than one family deserves in just one year.

In July, my 98-and-a-half-year-old Grandad passed away after a few years of illness after illness, and in late November, my cousin, tragically lost her battle with cancer. She was just fifty-two, and literally the loveliest, kindest, nicest person I've ever met, and we're all heartbroken that she's gone. I take comfort in the fact my Grandad lived a long and happy life and was ready to go, but my cousin should've had half her life ahead of her. Both deaths have been a huge loss for my family, and they've left two gaping holes in our lives. If there's any good to come from their deaths, losing them has made me realise more than ever how important family is, and how life is so damn short that it should be lived to the full every day, and never taken for granted. 

My cousin and Grandad weren't the only ones who suffered illness in 2017; it seemed like half my family had health concerns. I myself spent all but six weeks of the year with tachycardia (racing heart beat), which kicked off with an emergency visit to A&E with a BPM of 160 in February for the first of three ECG's I would have in 2017. Over the year, I had countless tests, and even had an ultra-sound on my heart with a cardiologist, but we never did find a reason for my racing heart and palpitations. I'm still convinced it's electricity. My heart rate has slowed down a little thanks to a daily dose of beta blockers, but I still have issues with it racing, especially during the night. I hope 2018 is the year it will finally go back to normal.

Of course, I also had chronic pain and my chronic illnesses to contend with on a daily basis for the sixth consecutive year, and they totally kicked my arse each and every day. The pain and joint stiffness grew worse in 2017, and once again, held me hostage at home for the vast majority of the year. Aside from brief interludes for doctor's and hospital appointments, I spent another year house bound and on bed rest, but I didn't let it break me or phase me, and I got through the year just fine. 
I suppose one of the biggest challenges for me in 2017 was dealing with the stress and difficulty of living the entire year without a penny to my name, and going through the long process of appealing my case through a tribunal. It was a daily nightmare for fourteen long months, but a few days before Christmas, I won my appeal, and it's a relief that I can start 2018 with that weight lifted off my shoulders, and some financial security for the year ahead.

To cope with the stress of all the crappy parts of 2017, I did all I could to keep myself busy, and made the best out of the life I was given. I read, I wrote, I cross stitched, I took up watercolour painting, I had a go at embroidery, I blogged, I created flat lays, I took a million photos, I watched movies, I listened to music, I played computer games, I made a ton of hoop art, I had a go at wreath-making, I pinned the shit out of Pinterest, I answered online surveys for cash, I spent time with my dog, and a million other little things that helped me fill the year, and made me feel productive and accomplished.

Every once in a while, I even managed to leave the house for a little breather, and occasionally an adventure. I visited a local zoo, explored a woods carpeted in bluebells, went out for afternoon tea at an enchanted tea gardens, did some sight-seeing in Oxford, visited Stroud for the first time, and even took my first holiday in seven years to Cornwall for a week in June. It was my first holiday since developing chronic pain, and while I spent most of the time resting, I loved revisiting old haunts and a couple of new places. We went to St. Ives, took a boat ride out to Seal Island and spotted some wild seals, visited Truro, went to Newquay Zoo, stepped foot on Perranporth Beach, went out for strawberry teas, dawdled around Padstow, drove down to Penzance, and explored St. Michael's Mount for the first time. It was blissful.

I also put a lot of time and effort in to my blog in 2017, and worked hard to create quality content each time I blogged. I struggled to post as often as I wanted to, though, as I had difficulty standing to take the photos I needed and couldn't spend long on my laptop, so I didn't blog as much as I'd hoped, and couldn't blog everything I wanted to. I wasn't happy with Polka Spots at all last year because of this, nor how I let replying to comments and messages slide, but I'm going to do my best to rectify that in 2018, and make my blog the best it can be. I want to blog more quality content, more fashion, beauty, lifestyle and creative posts, share outfits again, improve my photography, and become more interactive with you guys again. I guess we'll have to wait and see if I can do it, but I really hope I can!

Here's some of my favourite posts from 2017:

Apart from turning another year older in July, I wasn't able to reach any of life's big milestones, or make any huge accomplishments in 2017, but that's okay. I've learnt not to sweat the small stuff. I concentrated on taking life as it came, living the life I had, and making the best out of every day. I conquered hurdles, and got through the bad times, and I'm stronger for having gone through it all. It helped me appreciate the good times and the things I do have even more.

2017 wasn't an easy year, but I made it through in one piece. I know if I can get through a year like 2017, I can get through anything. 

I'm sure 2018 is going to be a much brighter year than the one that's just passed, and I can't wait to see where it takes me. I'm going to do my best to make sure it's filled with good times and happiness, and pray that it brings (relatively) good health and wealth to myself, and everyone I know. 2018, do your worst; I'm ready for ya!

1 comment

  1. Oh I'm sorry you had a rough year last year, it was pretty garbage for me too...bring it on 2018!


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