2011 seems to have been a bit of a mixed bag. There were fantastic things that happened and for some people sad things. My friends and family changed jobs, had babies, bought cars, lost loved ones, lost beloved pets, had accidents, achieved goals, took trips and many of the usual things that make up our lives.
So too with the wider world. Devastating natural disaster struck yet each time there were amazing stories of courage and survival. We lost some luminaries including Steve Jobs and Elizabeth Taylor. Royals got married and the world watched. Babies were born – the Beckhams finally got their long awaited girl. Celebrities married and divorced (some within the same year).
In the end though those are other people’s stories. We got to watch them but they weren’t our stories. Your rememberance of 2011 will be based on your own experiences. As I told my old boss – for him 2011 will always be the year he lost his mother regardless of what else happened. For my brother and SIL, it will be the year their baby was born. And so it goes. So here is a snippet of my 2011:
Mackenzie Rose – my newest niece was born at the end of March. Full head of hair and large solemn eyes. She is as special as the niece and nephew that have come before her. I can’t wait to see her personality emerge. She likes to size people up before she decides if you are ok. When she stares at you with those big eyes you can’t help but wonder what it is she can see in you.
Holiday in Cairns – In October I went to Cairns and Townsville with my Sister, BIL and Mr not-yet-2. We had a great trip despite being stranded by Qantas in Townsville as we were boarding to go home which resulted in us driving all night to get back, with my pregnant sister doing the bulk of the driving. Mr 2 was a champion, at no time getting upset or causing a fuss at this change of plans. He sat quietly watching Chuggington on the iPad or sleeping through the night. The upside of this was us getting free tickets to anywhere in NZ or AU to use – NZ here we come (next year)! But even that drama did not diminish from an otherwise lovely trip. Honestly, we could have stayed at the Cairns Esplanade forever.
NaNoWriMo – Regular reader of this blog will know all about my NaNoWriMo efforts. I really loved the challenge and I am really proud of myself that I succeeded. Met some nice fellow writers along the way (and a few unusual folks). For me though the big thing was that I actually got a lot of words on the page. Finally. No procrastination. No bits and pieces here and there. Actual story. It’s not great, let’s not kid ourselves but it’s a start and it has potential and already I know ways in which to fix it. I can’t wait for NaNo 2012!
Family Visits – Also this year my brother, SIL and their 3yo came to visit and we did a bunch of touristy things. The zoo (where we fed Giraffe and I held the most beautful Owl), the Harbour, the Monorail, Darling Harbour etc. It was a highlight for me because Miss 3 stayed with me by herself for a night and we had our own adventures at the park and the Aquarium. Also earlier in the year my sister, BIL and Mr 1.5 (as he was then) came up for a couple of days. Taking the kids on the ferries on the harbour is always a highlight as is the train. It’s fun to be little, everything is exciting.
Other Highlights – Other highlights include taking Salsa lessons, trips to the theatre, meeting Terry Pratchett, Anthony Bourdain and Marion (from Masterchef), the Sydney Writer’s Festival, hearing my nephew call me Shaggy! for the first time, Symphony in the Park (William Tell Overture with canons!!!), family Kids Day, Willy Wonka Ball, Downton Abbey. Wow! Lots of good stuff this year!
Every year there are challenges to overcome. Here are a couple of mine:
Changing Jobs – This is down as a challenge because while I am really really glad to have changed jobs and love the new one, the actual changing was a big challenge which led to about 3 stressful and somewhat depressing months. I am glad they are over. I will never let myself end up in that kind of position again. If I learned one lesson though, move on as SOON as you are ready. Don’t stay somewhere because it’s comfortable.
Tassie – In August I went to Tasmania with my Dad to help him with some issues with an elderly relative. It was tiring and stressful and depressing. My poor Dad had been somewhat unprepared for what we would find and while I was not, it was still hard. Dealing with older family members often is. On a happier note, my father and I got to spend some time together and he showed me a lot of the places he hung out when he was growing up, my parents first flat and that kind of thing. That side of it was lovely.
Boston – This year I also learned that my lovely cat has early stage kidney failure. While she’s otherwise in good health and likely to stay around a bit longer, it’s forced me to face the reality (even though I already knew it was coming) that she won’t be around too much longer. I’m hoping she’ll still be here this time next year but really that’s going to depend on how she is because I won’t let her suffer. This knowledge perhaps is the only reason I have not lost my temper with the 5am galloping across the bed.
Bigger Purchases – Ok, this isn’t really a challenge as such but there wasn’t really anywhere else to put it. I have found it amusing that you can go several years without having to make a major household purchase and then suddenly you have to make several somewhat close together. This year I have replaced my bed, my washing machine, my crockery and will shortly replace my car (though in all fairness that’s needed to be done for quite a while now). Oh and a bathroom. Luckily I’m (mostly) prepared but I know lots of people get caught out with it. I wonder how long I get before the next round.
So, that’s a bit of a round up of my year. I hope you had a great 2011. What were your highlights? I’d love to hear them.