2019 has been a crazy chaotic year for me, I knew last year that it was going to be challenging and it most certainly didn’t let me down in that aspect, at all. It was officially my second year in the Netherlands and a year that saw changes in every aspect of my life.
“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. “ – Nelson Mandela
The first 7 months were spent incredibly sick. No good deeds goes unpunished and I brought back an infection from my Christmas charity work in Eastern Europe. Unfortunately it took me being hospitalised to be given antibiotics that I should have been given in January with the first infection, the ‘joys’ of living in a country that really refuses to give antibiotics, even when you are legitimately sick. I think I surprised myself with being able to keep going despite feeling less than 30% of myself for such a long time and having such a utterly buggered immune system that I was literally going from one infection to the next.
“If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.” – H. G. Wells
Buying the house has been a big thing this year (as you’ll know from the previous blog posts) and I’m at the point where I can take a break until the Spring. I equally love and loathe my house, every time I think it’s sorted, something pops up to remind me that my work is never done and there will always be something – the joys of being a home owner (The irony still being that I bought the house on the basis that it literally needed no work doing to it).
“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” — Fredrick Douglas
My friends have become a true highlight of the year. They have proven more than once what an amazing support system I have and they truly make my life more entertaining, fun and enriched on every level. I am so incredibly lucky to be able to call them friends (and other inappropriate terms that we use amongst ourselves).
“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” – Albert Schweitzer
Callie and George, my two very pampered Maine Coons, did not master potty training in 2019. George completely got it and was totally on board, if only his sister had even half the enthusiasm! Callie is absolutely me in the cat form, shes autistic and hates any form change and went out of her way to let me know was not having any of it. She gave me false hope on a few occasions but mostly she left me a gift at most front door every morning and nothing gets your mornings going like cleaning up cat mess before you can leave the house. I’ve now read a more cat forums that I’d like to admit and this will be a 2020 goal with a very different approach and time scale attached.
“If we start being honest about our pain, our anger, and our shortcomings instead of pretending they don’t exist, then maybe we’ll leave the world a better place than we found it.” – Russell Wilson
Mental health, this is such a taboo issue, which is unfortunate and sad. We will all be affected by mental health, our own or someone elses in our lifetime and yet we choose not to talk about it openly. This year has been a year that has tried me on every level possible, I’ve had more sense of humour failures than I can count and questioned my own sanity a number of times. Towards the end of the year, I realised that I needed to address a number of issues which were affecting my mental health if I wanted to be healthy. Progress is hard and addressing issues (painful or not) is never easy and takes determination but ultimately it’s been incredibly rewarding for me. I can see the progress that I’ve made, the feeling of weight being taken off my shoulders and it’s been incredibly enlightening in ways I didn’t even expect.
“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
2019 has been unique in so many ways, I didn’t find lasting love but I did find some very impressive DIY skills and now have a shed full of power tools (woohoo!). I learnt more about myself than I ever expected. I had some amazingly shit times (7 months being ill) but equally I had some really fun times, where I laughed until I cried, make up completely ruined. Oh and it turns out I’m a complete mini golf addict despite the fact that the more I play, the worse I somehow seem to get. I’m ready to go into 2020 with a positive attitude and a new respect for my needs and wants in life.