A favourite quote and a way by which to approach life.

Today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Review of 2014

*peeps around the corner*
*whispers* Hello... I'm still here... I've been a bit busy... Sorry about that.  I'm back now, and I intend on being more productive here this year.  In the meantime, seeing as I'm here, I'm going to do my annual review of the year, but seeing as there's not a lot of point in reviewing this year, with only being three days into it, I'll do the more typical thing of reviewing the year that was, using the same questions I set for my previous Review of the Year.

1. What has been your biggest achievement this year?
Probably gaining a position as a lay reviewer for Asthma UK.  This is a new thing for me, only gaining it three or four weeks ago.  I was one of many applicants throughout the country for about five lay reviewer positions, and went through a process of application form, short-listing, telephone interview, and selection.  I was greatly surprised and hugely delighted to be successful, and I'm looking forward to getting started in a few weeks time.  It's a voluntary position that I can do from home, will involve a lot of reading, and some teleconferencing.  As a lay reviewer I'll be on a panel of other lay reviewers, scientist, and medics, who will collectively decide which of the many research proposals put forward to Asthma UK are granted funded from the charity.  It means a lot to me to have got this position, because it means that finally my experience and knowledge of asthma will be put to good use, and has potential to be a part of something that changes and develops treatment and management of the disease.
2. What made you laugh most this year?
Hmm, I always seem to have trouble with this one.  It's not that I don't laugh through the year, it's that I have trouble remembering what the hilarity was about.  Let me think...I know that I've had some very silly conversations with my mum through the year that caused us both a lot of laughter.  Again, I can't remember what these times were about, but most likely they were plays on words that probably ended up being a bit rude ;)
3. What unfulfilled hopes do you have for this past year?
Writing.  I didn't get much done at all this past year, which my blog reflects with only four posts for 2014.  I'm sorry about that, but I'm mostly sorry that I haven't been in an emotional place where writing has felt very possible.  I'm still emerging from the horrible thing that 2013 was, but I'm a great deal better than I was this time last year, and I'm hopeful that I will be able to write this year.
4. What has been your favourite/most listened to piece of music this year?
I have an eclectic taste in music, my listening has reflected that, but certainly at the back end of 2014 I listened a lot to the Peter, Paul, and Mary track 'Jane Jane'.  It's a piece I first sang as a teenager with the Swing Bridge Singers, and which I've been singing again this autumn and winter with my current choir, Flotsam.  I love it, particularly the arrangement we do by Scottee (MD of both Swing Bridge Singers and Flotsam).
5. What was your best holiday this year?
I had a few trips up to Edinburgh through the year, but my only real holiday was a family holiday to Shropshire in May for my mum and step-dad's seventieth birthdays.  It was very lovely, and great to spend time with all the family.
6. What new skill, if any, have you acquired this year?
Crochet!  I had decided that this was something I really wanted to learn in 2014, and then in February/March my friend Ruth said she also wanted to learn.  Ruth had a couple of months off work recovering from surgery so we got together during that time and taught ourselves to crochet from a fab little book I'd bought. We learnt all the basics together and then went our separate ways with it, and now I'll give almost anything a go.  I am completely addicted and find it very relaxing.
7. What's the best book you've read this year?
I think probably 'The Music Room' by William Fiennes, which I was given for my birthday.
8. What has been the biggest challenge of this year?
Emotionally surviving.  There has been a lot of stress and unhappiness in the last twelve months, with several deaths, and a number of very difficult situations.
9. What is your happiest/fondest memory of this year?
Hmm, despite the upsets and difficulties of the year, there have also been many good things.  I have lots of lovely memories of times with friends and times with family, especially my nephews.
10. Of what one creation of the past year are you most proud or pleased?
Probably some of my crochet creations, and probably one of these:

11. What new hobby did you take up/old hobby did you reinstate this year?
I took up two hobbies this year, one I've already talked about - crochet; the other is geocaching, which is basically an on-going international treasure hunt using GPS.  I love that it gets me out and about, discovering new places (even locally), rediscovering old places, even just going to places I usually go to but looking at it a different way because I'm on the hunt for the 'treasure' - the cache.  I've also enjoyed setting a couple of caches myself and making some new friends too.
12. What one thing would you really like to do next year?
I'd like to write.  I'd like to make good progress with my book.  I'd like to crochet some warm hats, scarves, and gloves/mittens for homeless folk.  I'd like to find all the mulitcaches in the city centre.  Lots of things, not just one thing.
13. What was the saddest thing of this year?
Oh, lots of death at the beginning of the year.  It started with the death of a friend of twenty-five years and more in January, then the tragic and unexpected death of one of my cousins at the beginning of April, and nine days later the death of my gorgeous and ever-characterful cat Zachariah Zebedee.
14. What has been your best discovery of this year?
In a very literal way, I was delighted to discover a particularly tricky geocache at East Cramlington Nature Reserve, in fact it was the first one I went hunting for there and it took me at least 25 minutes to locate it.
15. What news story of this year has had the biggest impact on you/do you most remember?
Gosh, there have been so many terrible things in the news ... I think the bleakness and such widespread impact of the Ebola crisis in Western Africa has been just terrible...still is terrible. 16. What's the best film you've seen this year?
I didn't see many films at the cinema this/last year, but I did see 'What We Did On Our Holiday' and absolutely loved it.
17. What was your best buy this year?
Isobel! My gorgeous kitten.  Strictly speaking I didn't buy her because she was bought for me by some beautifully-hearted friends, but I think she still counts for this question.  Here she is lying on my legs last night.

18. What has been your best day out this year?
You know what, I've had many good days out this year, a lot of them doing geocaching.  I had a fabulous day with my new friends Helen and Carrie doing geocaching in the Tyne Valley, and another in Chopwell Woods.  I had a great day geocaching up near Morpeth with my friend Ruth too.  However, I think all the fabulous days I've had geocaching are just about pipped by a day with my dad at Rising Sun Country Park.  It was so special to spend some time with him, just the two of us, and to see him enjoying himself.
19. If there’s one thing you did this year that you’d do differently if you could, what would it be?
I'm not sure ... There was something that came up in my therapy sessions with my psychologist that caused me a great deal of stress as it looked as though some old demons might be forced to the fore.  I had several weeks of stressful uncertainty, and perhaps I would approach things differently if I were to go through that again ... but I'm not sure that I would have any choice in the matter, as I don't think I really did this time.  Difficult.
20. Is there anywhere you'd like to visit next year?
Um, possibly Derbyshire.  I spent a few nights in Derbyshire at the end of my Dorset holiday in 2013, but there's a lot of it to see and I wasn't there long enough to see very much of it.  Also, the triceratops hat I made (shown in one of the photos above) is for the young son of a friend in Derbyshire so it would be lovely to give that to them myself.  I would also like to visit my brother and family who are in Cambridgeshire, especially as they gave me identical twin nieces as an early Christmas present at the end of November.

21. Name one thing you did this year that you'd like to do again?
Take Dad for another day out.  It's not easy with my limited mobility and Dad's own disabilities, but we did manage it a couple of times in 2014, and I think if I find the right places to go, it should be possible again.
22. Who gave you the best advice this year?
Probably my psychologist.  She's helped me through a huge amount of stress, difficulties, and upsets through the year, and at times that's included giving advice for management and survival between appointments.
23. What new skill would you like to acquire next year?
I might like to try Tunisian crochet, which is sort of an extension of crochet knowledge, whilst also being a new skill itself.
24. What was your favourite TV/radio programme this year?
Oo, there's been quite a lot of good telly this year.  I really enjoyed 'The Wrong Mans', and then there was ... oh, what's it called? It was set in Yorkshire and had what'shername in as a police officer ... 'Happy Valley'!  Yes, 'Happy Valley' was great too.
25. What would you like to make more time for next year?
Two things - writing, and my dad.  If I am to try to write I need first to make time for it, even if I sit doing nothing for a while before I find a way back into it. As for Dad, I haven't made enough time for him in recent months, mainly because I find it so upsetting to see him in such a deteriorated state, but I'm also aware that it's the coward's response to avoid the difficult things.  I want to make the most of whatever time he has left, but I also want those times to be good.  I find it particularly difficult when I go to see him in the care home and I'm searching for something to talk about and not knowing quite what response I'll get from him, so I want to take him out.  I want to take him places I know he will enjoy, but where I can manage him too, places we can enjoy together, that just being there initiates conversation, places that will form good memories together.
26. What has been the biggest disappointment this year?
I'm not sure.  To be honest I can't immediately think of any major disappointments, except that of not writing.  I'm sure there have been things that I've missed due to illness that I was disappointed about at the time, but I can't now remember what they were.  Perhaps that's a good thing.
27. What was the best or most enjoyable concert you went to this year?
I haven't been to many concerts in the past twelve months, but I did go to a great one of music from Oscar winning films, hosted by Barry Norman.  The concert was at Sage Gateshead and I went with my friends Rachel and Marc.
28. What do you think was the best thing that you did for yourself during the last year?
Went to see my GP early when I suspected I might be developing diabetes.  I was lucky that it turned out I had Impaired Glucose Tolerance, rather than full diabetes, when I first went to the doctor, but my early action meant that it could be watched closely, so as soon as it reached a level that diabetes was diagnosed, the wheels of diabetes management/education could be put in motion. 
29. What is the biggest difference in yourself from this time last year?
I'm not as depressed as I was.  In fact, I'd say that I'm low rather than depressed, and not so low that it often causes me a great deal of distress.  I hide myself away sometimes still, which is counter productive, especially as I sometimes find myself getting lonely too...
30. What are you most looking forward to about next year?
Meeting my twin nieces, starting the Asthma UK lay reviewing, getting out and about with more geocaching, hopefully with friends.


Sarah XXX said...

Becky!!! You so need to visit your brother in Cambridgeshire. It is our neighbouring county so we could drive over and meet up with you! Do it!!!

Might pinch this questionnaire for my new blog if you don't mind!

BeckyG said...

I do indeed need to visit my brother, Sarah. What I'm thinking of doing is perhaps staying in a youth hostel somewhere in the locality, so that I'm not putting pressure on my bro and his family, but I can see them, spend time with them, and also see some of the area. You know, for all my travels around the UK, I've never actually visited Cambridge itself! The bonus would be seeing you too! Hurrah for a plan!

Of course I don't mind you pinching my questionnaire :) Mind you, you have to give me your blog address ;)

Becky xx

Sarah XXX said...

That most definitely sounds like a plan :) I'd offer you one of our spare rooms...but it would probably kill you!

BeckyG said...

LOL I appreciate your not wanting to kill me, so I don't mind you not offering your spare room ;)