Thursday, 31 December 2009

The end of a decade

I keep forgetting that this New Year's Eve signals the end of this first decade in the 21st century... for all that I keep thinking "I'll be glad to see the end of 2009", I realise that the past ten years have perhaps been the most changeable in my life, so let's look back...

2000 was a year of realisation for me - I took my GCSEs that year and for the first time realised how academic I was. It was the year I changed my plans to become a teacher to follow the advice of others and go to University, changing my career path from the one I had thought I would follow for many years. This was good and bad and I still see both sides of this decision - it really was a significant year. It was also the year I wrote a poem that made me realise that I had progressed from a child who wrote well for her age to someone who wrote well full stop... this would lead me to where I am today, eventually...

2001 was the year I developed a bit more independence, I went on my first holiday without adults to take me, as my friend and I travelled across England to visit a friend in Wales by train. I was still a very shy teenager, getting more and more fearful of the day I would have to leave home and strike my way in the world alone, but I knew I still had some time to enjoy having more freedom but still no real responsibilities - life was good.

2002 was the year I stopped working. I sat in class for the first time in my life, bored, uninterested and I was miserable. I think this was the first time I ever felt truly depressed and it followed a long period of illness (I know today that long bouts of illness, particularly of the hormonal kind, really do affect my ability to keep going emotionally, but then I just felt lost and alone.) I beat myself up a lot that year, and for many years to come, and did things I would never normally do. I lost friends, and strained my relationship with family, but gained the knowledge that those who truly love me would love me no matter how much I pushed them away. It was a hard year.

It was also the year I started university and spent the last 3 months of the year trying to fit in and make friends. I found that hard, but it also changed me forever. I became more confident, I began to see I could survive in the adult world. I learnt a lot about myself, and I realised that the future was not so bleak as I thought it might be... my depression lifted. It was also the year I made new friendships that continue to delight me to this day.

And it was the year I went abroad with friends rather than family for the first time. This was hard, yet exciting. Yes, 2002 was a pivotal year for me, hence 3 paragraphs on it!

2003 was the year I finally began to fit in to university. It was the year I realised I had earnt my place there. It was also the year I first visited Russia - interesting, to say the least. And it was the year my poetry truly began to flow and become more beautiful and thoughtful. It was also the year I began to move away from organised religion (having only really spent a couple of years in it) and turned back to my roots in spirituality, developing a keener interest in delving deeper to understand my faith, rather than simply having it... sometimes this is good, sometimes not so good, but it is a journey I enjoy, and which has introduced me to so many wonderful people I never would have met otherwise. It was the year I discovered the world of internet forums.

It was also the year I first went on camp to look after teenage girls with disabilities. I discovered a whole new passion for life and wished that summer could have gone on forever.

2004 was the year I went to Germany. I developed deep and lasting memories of my time there, from how timid I was to how brave I became, from how I worried constantly about my language to speaking freely and not worrying whether I made mistakes or not, from wanting to give something back to society to being involved with a voluntary organisation I adored. It was the year I began to question whether all the information I had gathered relating to spirituality would really stand in my way to living this sort of life always... I still wonder about that one.

It was also the year I realised I could write about anything at all, and I did just that. Napkins, envelopes, scraps of paper here and there became covered in thoughts, ideas, poems and stories. It was a year of flowing creativity in which I found inspiration everywhere, I lost that for a while but it is finally starting to come back.

2005 was the year I went to Russia and was one of the hardest of my life. I battled depression and mood swings due to hormonal medication I took whilst there. I battled these whilst being in a country so foreign to me, with a complete loss of confidence in my language ability and the constant fear of what my landlady would do next. It was also the year I turned 21.

It was the year I had my first laparoscopy and finally found out that I had endometriosis after years of suffering agonising pain and being ignored and sometimes embarrassed by the doctors. It was, however, a hideous experience which put me off hospitals in a big way and made the next three months of my life hell. It was the last time I had a proper period. It was a strange year.

It was also the year I started my final year at university, on which 80% of my entire degree rested. It was the year I chose to focus on more on what I wanted, and the year I began to see how strong I could be. I became an administrator on an internet forum and devoted so much of my time to the site. I learnt HTML and began to read blogs. I also began my Reiki training this year.

2006 was the year I graduated and finally felt free - now I could choose my own destiny (or so I thought at the time!) It was a year when the lecturers went on strike and nobody knew how it would affect their final year, but I no longer cared. It was the year I started work and realised I hated my job... it was the year I chose to leave one job and start doing something I loved - the year I started working in childcare.

It was also the year I first moved to Cambridge and struggled to make ends meet - the first time I had struggled, despite my careful budgeting. It was the year I developed IBS and an intolerance to wheat, too much dairy and foods high in fibre.

And it was the year I first began a blog! I didn't know what I was doing or where it was going, but it was fun and since then I have dreamt more and more of how it would develop and I truly hope that this coming year may see some of those dreams become reality...

2007 was the year that I met Tim!! Tim, the love of my life, brought me so much hope and happiness and became my best friend. We had a slow blossoming romance but once it moved from friendship to more we quickly realised this was it - by 2008 we would be living together.

It was the year I began a job I loved - note-taking and support work at the University, a job that suited me perfectly and which I hope to perhaps return to in the near future. It was the year I began to think my dreams were all becoming reality. I wrote stories that gained great reviews online, I had the perfect partner and life was my oyster...

2008 was the year when my world came crashing down around me. It began so happily by setting up home with Tim but quickly went to pot as he lost his job and I struggled to make ends meet and eventually had to leave childcare (despite having the chance to go almost straight to the top of the career ladder) because of ill-health and finances. I suffered terribly with first labyrinthitis and then with my endo, leading the doctors to put me into a fake menopausal state which screwed me up royally...

It was, however, a beautiful year when I saw Tim start a new career he loved and I found out I did have the potential to work in a challenging environment and be a leader. It was hard, but we survived.

2009 was the hardest year yet... after months of being terribly ill I had an operation for my endo and am currently going through yet another "fake menopause". It all got on top of me (the feeling ill all the time, the financial strain, the pressures of work) and I became more depressed than ever before, crying for hours almost every night. It was a year of challenge for us both.

It was the year my parents house burnt down due to an electrical fault in the loft - the year they were lucky it happened during the evening and not at night as the fire alarm didn't go off. It was the year my childhood home went up in flames and I could do nothing to help my family as they lived too far away. It was a year of feeling helpless...

But it was also a good year in many ways. We got to live in a beautiful house in an amazing neighbourhood. We spent time with loved ones we hadn't seen in ages. We went to Italy for a wedding and Tim proposed to me whilst we were there. We began to plan for our future, thinking not only of our own house and having more time together but also about a family of our own, especially after the birth of our nephew. It was a year of looking forward and finding hope once more... it was a year of decisions

So what will 2010 and the coming decade bring us? Well, my dad will retire in February, giving us more time to see him enjoy his life. We will be leaving Cambridge to return to Lincoln and set up home in a place we hope to be for the next 5 - 10 years. We hope it will bring more time to spend at home and with that improved health. Perhaps by this time next year we may be married or looking forward to starting a family. Within the next decade at least we hope to be married, in our own home, raising a family in the perfect way for us... it will be an amazing decade, with so many changes and I hope that you will continue to pop by and visit us from time to time, let's hope I'll still be blogging in 10 more years when we can see how many of these things came to pass.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and look forward to keeping in touch with you all throughout 2010. xx


Anonymous said...

While reading trough your decade I had to go trough my own and realise that it has been an amazing (and yes sometimes hard) journey... thank you for having been there for part of that journey... even tough we dont see each other that often (or write/talk that often) are both always on my mind and I am very grateful... thank you!


Sheila said...

I hope all of your plans for the future turn out to be exactly what you need and want.

Simone said...

Happy New Year Amanda and Tim! You have led a very full decade Amanda. You are still young so enjoy the next decade to the full! x

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