Tuesday, 23 December 2014

That was 2014

Am I the only person that's looking forward to next year already? This year has had some great moments of course - many of them, but it has also been one of the most challenging and tormented years of my life. Or at least that's how it feels right now.

Here are three of my biggest issues of 2014

Where to live

I have pretty much spent the whole year thinking about moving. At the beginning of the year I was looking for places in a nearby city - then I decided that my house was better than anywhere else I could find, that I have made it functional and efficient and perfect for us, and we'd stay. Then February rolled around and my 5 years in the UK that I planned for was up - panic set in that I might be stuck here. If I had ever thought that might happen I never would have left Australia. I had to get back. I spent months then planning to go back - how would I finance it when the exchange rate is so against me? where would I live? I was pretty much decided on Albany in WA.

Though once the actuallity of really going back was in my mind, all of those things that we would miss about here came to the fore. We do actually have quite a good life here. BB loves his grandparents and his Aunties, and DD and PP of course. For a while there DD seemed very keen to go back to Australia too. In fact he was encouraging me, in the hope it would give him more leverage to persuade PP to go. That all fell by the wayside though, and now they have decided for certain that this is their home and are planning on buying a house in the UK.

So if we were to go back to the other side of the planet, we would be pretty lonely. My friends in Australia are very spread out, from the south west of Western Australia to the Far North of Queensland, from Darwin to Hobart. The county is so vast we might never afford to visit some of them. Wherever we landed we would have to start again.  Also, after 5 years I am finally starting to feel I have some meaningful friendships developing here.

In the process of deciding where we should live in Australia, I wrote a list of what I would like us to have in our lives. It was as follows

For me

  • Health
  • Family
  • Good Friends
  • The Great Outdoors / sunlight
  • Art
  • Stimulating Conversation / Learning
  • Yoga
  • Meditation / Buddhist Teachings
  • Exercise
  • Rewarding well paid part time work
  • A partner - one day at least!
For BB
  • Family
  • Good education 
  • Lots of chances to play
  • Lots of outdoor activities
  • Physical activity 
  • Friends
  • Consistency - a place we could stay
  • Opportunities
It became clear from this that we could actually get all those things here! Our life has pretty much evolved between here and the city I was planning to move to at the start of the year. There are houses we could afford right next to a country park in said city. This is also close to most of the things we like about that city. It is also less than an hour by train to London and close to a major road route, so it will be easier for DD and BB to see each other.  I am fairly certain we now have this right. 

We just need someone to buy our house so we can move! Fingers crossed that will happen early next year.


Having a baby

There have also been many changes of mind on having another baby. From the fertility clinic at the end of 2013, to then DD saying no to the clinic after all, to TTC at home again, to considering IVF again, to getting pregnant again, miscarrying again, trying again, giving up again, considering donor eggs, donor embryos, fostering, adoption... 

I think without a doubt I would love to have another child. BB would love that too - in fact he wants two, a boy and a girl. I have finally come to terms with the idea that I am not going to carry that child myself. BB is also happy that we have a baby that comes from another mummy's tummy (but he doesn't want anyone that hits or spits). Having recovered from my previous experience with an adoption agency, I decided to try another. I went to an information evening a few weeks ago and it could not have been more different than my first experience. I left feeling that I really wanted to adopt, with this agency, right now!

I do have an initial meeting planned, but actually I have decided I am not going to rush into this. The great thing about this agency is that they support you through the decision and to make sure it is right for you. There's no pressure to have decided right now about any aspect of it, just to begin the process of exploration.  I want to get us moved and settled, give myself a bit of a break, and then begin the process.

Growing old

I think this is another thing that has tormented me greatly during 2014, though I haven't blogged about it specifically. I have had a few health scares, developed a few intolerances, am too fat, too unfit. I have learned a lot about what I need to do to be healthier and feel better but still haven't really managed to love myself enough to actually do it, and I have then chastised myself for that. 

Much of my torment is self inflicted too. If I was in a better frame of mind, and had taken care of myself both physically and emotionally, the events of the last few months would not have got to me the way they have. Such simple basic things. I didn't sleep enough, especially in October, which is really when it all started to go wrong in my head, and I ate junk! Wheat makes me depressed, tired, lack energy, gives me pain in my joints. I know this. But it its a downward spiral that makes me crave even more of the starchy glutinous stodge. Then I can chastise myself a little bit more. I have to get that sorted in 2015, but that's probably another post.

I think I am starting to accept the ageing thing though, and maybe even embrace it. I am of an age where you can no longer continue to abuse your body and expect it to cope. Those days are gone. In fact they are long gone but it's taken me a while to really get it. I have to take care of myself now. I think I'm ready.

Possibly the biggest milestone of 2014 for me is going grey. I have been dyeing my hair for nearly 20 years. I never did like the colour when it was dyed, particularly in recent years, no matter how many different ones I tried. I had to go darker to match the black in my roots, but my other roots were white so they showed up even more. Dark dyed hair on older people does look ridiculous, without exception in my experience, and then it fades to ugly. I am enjoying the silver. Now I don't have obviously dyed hair, with  hideous roots showing for 2/3 of the time, and I save myself 3 hours and £50 every 6 weeks!

Although most people are quite shocked/horrified when they see me, (it just doesn't seem to be socially acceptable for a woman my age to be grey - but for men it's fine, distinguished even!), I am liking it. In fact I am finding it quite liberating. To me it is an outward sign that I have accepted my life stage, that I am embracing who I am. It is the start of taking care of myself, physically and emotionally as an older woman. Like I am stepping into me

The money I am saving on hair dye is being redirected into achieving some more healthful goals. Back to the list above, I have now joined the gym, (near where we plan to live) and have been doing three yoga classes a week for about 6 weeks now. I can definitely feel the benefits already. I have also signed up for a "Fresh Start" meditation course at the beginning of January at the Buddhist centre in the city we are moving to. I am planning for this to be the start of my relationship with the centre - this is an aspect of my life that has been neglected for the whole time I have been in the UK so it will be good to reconnect with that part of me.

In summary then it has been a challenging a year, one I am pleased to see the back of, but I think I resolved some issues, turned some corners, and laid the foundations for a good future for BB and I. 

But roll on 2015!