2017 in Review: it wasn’t all that bad...look!
By Sara-Jane Morphew

2017 hasn’t been our best year, and we have spent a lot of time over the Christmas period thinking about the hard bits and saying thank goodness that it’s almost over. But on the last day of the year, I’m writing 2017 in review. I really want to concentrate on the good that happened this year. I don’t think it is healthy to concentrate on the negatives and almost write off a year. It’s been hard, yes, but also we survived. We are here stronger than ever and ready for the next challenge: we are ready for 2018.

2017 in Review: it wasn’t all that bad...look!

2017 in review

So here is 2017 in review, the bad but also the good. Feel free to skip over this bit. It’s mostly for me to just have all the good and the bad in writing , to prove to myself that it has been OK.

January was a quiet month. No big events, no big trips. My pictures look like I was concentrating on self-care. Going to yoga, getting the kids into yoga, getting outside with the boys and their friends for walks on the beach, and having lots of quality time with them.

February: I dyed my hair pink, and met an elephant! We also had a weekend in Cardiff babysitting my nephew.

Fat lama make money from the things you own

March: Tim was on Radio 2. Tim and I had a trip to London, we saw friends, we went to London Zoo and we picked up some animals. I drove a massive van on the M4, but Tim was ill. I also published my first blog.

An adventure to Spain

April was our adventure to Spain, the boy’s first trip on a plane. An amazing week in the sun!

May: apart from my birthday, I had a hen do, and the decking was made. My sister visited and we had trips to Picton Ferry, and to Folly Farm to see Paw Patrol.

June involved a trip to the Owl Sanctuary, an attempted and failed phased return to work, sports days, trips to the beach and barbecues, and a friend’s wedding in London.

Time to Change

July was more sports days, end of school term, my sister was on holiday at home, I started my training for Time to Change Wales, and I did lots of sewing. But Tim had meningitis.

August: a trip to Cardiff for me and the boys, a horticultural show, summer holiday crafting fun, and another trip to hospital and recovery for Tim. Trips to the county show, lots of walks about the county, my first Munch and Meander, and the arrival of Abbey the cat.

September: the boys both going to big school, another Munch and Meander, two weddings, and my first outing as a Time to Change Wales Champion.

A new job

October: my eldest sons birthday; we had a trip to Cardiff for a Jamie’s lunch and a museum trip and we held a successful party at home with a chocolate brownie castle. I was dismissed from work on medical grounds, but soon started a new job which is working well. I got involved in World Mental Health Day as a Time to Change Wales Champion. My blog was published in a book, and the boys and I had lots of walks and Halloween parties.

November: almost there, autumn walks, my youngest sons birthday and Tim’s, we had a firework party, trips to Folly with my nephew, Tim and I went to a Charity Ball, we had a lovely family day with the boys on their new bikes, and a muddy walk. I did another Time to Change Wales champion talk.

December: CHRISTMAS!! We tried to spread a little kindness with the kindness elves, family day seeing Father Christmas, Christmas shows, Christmas shopping and excited children. Done!

We’re in a good place

Overall it wasn’t a bad year. Yes, Tim spent some time in hospital, we had some financial problems due to his illness and the fact I was not in work. But as far as I can see we spent lots of quality time with the boys, we went on lots of adventures, my mental health and William’s have taken a few knocks but we are ending the year in a good place.

Williams’s toileting is improving all the time, as is his self-esteem and wellbeing. Henry is growing up fast and starting big school full-time in January. I have published lots of blogs and made huge strides in counselling. I am so proud of what I do with Time to Change Wales, and I feel more able to deal with the knocks that life can provide.

So I don’t feel like I should write off 2017. I feel like it has taught us a lot and we are ready for whatever 2018 is going to throw at us. For the first time in my life I actually feel like I want to make some New Year’s resolutions. I never make these. It usually makes me feel like I’m setting myself up to fail, but this year it feels different, I feel different. I feel ready to challenge myself and make a few changes, not huge ones but more of an effort to do the things I have learned will help us as a family.

Reading

I plan to read more, to try and tackle some lingering insomnia and in an attempt to get more quality sleep. We have decided to go to bed earlier and read before sleep. Currently we go to bed straight from watching telly, and it takes us a while to wind down our brains. I have loads of books in a pile that I want to read and have started but not finished, and loads on my reading list I want to get through.

Running

Get more active and lose some weight. I’m not necessarily going to be on a diet, but I will try to snack less. I am doing RED January for Mind. For those who don’t know, RED January means Run Every Day, so I will be running every day for 31 days. Not only will it get me outside every day in January which can be a tough month for my mental health, but also I am spreading awareness and raising money for a vital cause and losing some weight at the same time. Doing RED will hopefully kick-start my fitness again and I’ll lose the weight I have gained this year in a healthy way.

Self-care

Now that I am working more I will need more self-care. Both boys are in full-time school, so there should be more time for me to have some alone time: time to recharge, time to run, paint, draw, sew, practise yoga. I need to make sure it happens, that I take time to recharge and not get wrapped up in other things. Now that my counselling is coming to an end I need to make sure I am taking good care of myself.

Positivity

Focus on the positive: if I have learned anything over the past week of reflecting on 2017, as a family we need to focus on the positive. Each day we will write a note of the positives of that day and put it in a jar on the table. So by this time next year there will be a year of positivity to reflect on.

Being more present

Be more present: so this one means being more in the moment. Spending less time on my phone, scrolling through social media, being more in the moment with my children, not necessarily seeing it through the camera lens. This is a follow-on from focusing on the positive, seeing the positive in every moment by being in it, appreciating more and being more mindful.

Family time

We need more family time; this is when we are at our best. Hopefully we will have one weekend a month together as a family, to do family things. This is a hope rather than a resolution, but hopefully it will turn into one. Fingers crossed.

Thank you, 2017

So come and get us, 2018! We are ready. Thank you, 2017, for teaching us so much, for making us stronger, for giving us sun, snow, adventures, sadness and hope. For the trials and the hills to climb, for helping us realise we have a huge support network. Thank you for our friends and our family, near and far. For the joy and heartache. Thank you.

1in4 coffee mug

Hello 2018, nice to meet you!

From Lala, with love xx


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