1st January 2020

I have awoken today full of inspiration and ambition. As cliche as that sounds, I haven’t felt this way in a very long time. I have used this festive period for a bit of reflection and personal growth and to take stock of my life. 2019 has been one of the hardest years of my life, but also one of the best. We welcomed our first child, and faced all the challenges that come with this. It is true when people tell you nothing can prepare you for being a parent. I left my job to become a stay at home mum, something I swore blind I would never do. My body and my mind are changed beyond recognition and its taken me a while to come to terms with how different I am. Some of the changes I do not like, but some of them have made me a better and deeper person. My parents emigrated to France, something they have always wanted to do. I am overjoyed that they are finally able to live their dream, but I do miss having them just down the road. We welcomed my father-in-law from South Africa, and it is lovely to have family who were so far away, now so close.

I have high hopes for 2020. I’m not one for resolutions really, I think self improvement should be a continuous goal, not one just for the start of the year to be forgotten about in a few weeks. My boy is now a year old, and a fantastic little human. I feel we have climbed a huge mountain by making it through his first year intact. My husband and I have never loved each other more, and our little boy is the light of our lives and such a content child. If that isn’t the greatest achievement of my life I don’t know what is.

When I remember myself before I had a child, I can barely recognise that person. I was pretty happy with who I was, despite perhaps being a bit short tempered and opinionated. I thought I knew the world and how it felt to live in it, but looking back now its like I was living in black and white, and now everything is in full 4K colour. I feel everything so much more since having a child. Love, anger, hatred, patience, sadness, happiness, judgement, joy, irritation, excitement. It takes a bit of getting used to. Films I used to be indifferent to now leave me in tears and aching inside. I used to be able to look through the suffering on the news, I didn’t like to hear about the horrors and injustices of the world, but they were far away, easy to avoid. Now I feel strongly about everything. What if that was my child? What if my child was in that war zone, what would I do? What if I couldn’t protect them? What if someone took him or hurt him? What if he hurt himself? The world seems like a much darker and more dangerous place now I have something more precious than life its self to lose.

Feeling in colour is not a bad thing but it does take some getting used to. I now know what it feel like to be a child again. Kids feel things in their purest form. They haven’t been worn down by the horrors of the world, the drudgery of everyday life. They allow themselves to feel the full power of an emotion, and its beautiful to behold. I know when my boy smiles at me, all he is feeling is joy and love and in turn that passes to me. When I hear him laugh or see him smile, I’m lucky enough to share in his pure joy. Equally, when he is frustrated, tired or sad, I know all about it in no uncertain terms, but I will always do my best to help him though it. The gift of adulthood is knowing how to regulate and rationalise your negative emotions. The curse is we do it to our positive ones too.

Despite mentioning above that I am not one for resolutions, I have decided to set myself some general goals for the year. The first being to try and carry this positive feeling though the whole year, and not to get bogged down in the day to day irritations. My life is great. I’m doing well. Its VERY different to what I expected, but it is fulfilling and and meaningful just the same. I have everything I need.

The second is to lose some weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Try and drink a few less fancy coffees and do a few more classes at the gym! I know this will benefit me mentally as well as physically.

The third is to remain present. I spend too much time worrying about things that haven’t happened or that might happen and not enough time just living in the moment. I’ll never get back any of the time that has passed so I may as well make the most of it. Life really is too short for regrets. I need to take chances when they come, and move on when something doesn’t go my way.

The final one is to continue my quest for knowledge. Learning and writing bring me joy, so I need to make time for it.

This is a letter to myself really. This year is a chance to do better and to be better. I need to take it.

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