Goodbye 2018

Posted By on 29th December 2018

Well this is the time when I usually take stock and look back on the year that is coming to an end. Not in my worst nightmare did I ever think that 2018 would turn out like it has. Peter passed away in September, and since then I’ve had a burst pipe in the kitchen one of the worst coughs/colds of my entire life and now I’ve got a bad chest infection.

So it would be very easy for me to write a depressing piece about love; loss; ‘why me?’; and ‘it’s not supposed to be like this’ (and believe me I have been there over the last few months) but I’m not going down that road today. Instead I’m going to write something positive.

No-one knows how they will act in any given situation. Everyone is different and whilst we might like to think that, should we be placed in a crisis, we would act in a particular way, we don’t know until it happens, so this is very much my personal take on my situation. It may not be everyones.

At 4.30am on a Monday morning about 5 weeks ago I had what I believe is known as a Damascene moment, when it occurred to me that I really am in the last chance saloon. I realised I don’t have the time to feel sorry for myself and if I want any kind of life going forward I can’t just sit on my hands. I have 2 choices, sink or swim and I decided in that moment that I most definitely wanted to swim.

For years my default setting has been ‘fear’ due to a lack of self-confidence that has got gradually worse since I retired almost 13 years ago. I’m even scared of driving these days which is ridiculous as I’ve always loved it and I’ve now got the best car I’ve ever had. It’s not the actual driving that’s the problem, but the driving to unfamiliar places that I struggle with, made even worse now by the fact that I’m doing it alone.

I decided this was no longer acceptable. I needed to stand up and be counted. I wanted my confidence back. I wanted my life back.

Making the decision was the first step. Clearly it’s not going to happen overnight, but what I need to do now is follow it up with a few more small steps, leading on to bigger ones further down the line. I’ve already surprised myself in the weeks following Peter’s death sorting things out, dealing with the burst pipe, I’m even back writing this blog again, so what else might I achieve?

Who knows? but for a start I’m going to stop saying ‘no’ to everything. I’m going to embrace change, not fear it, I might still say ‘no’ sometimes but it won’t be out of irrational fear. In short I’m going to try to make something good come out of the tragic events of recent months.

How do I start? Well, I’ve just got some new glasses (my first varifocals) and just before Xmas I got a new back door fitted (not before time). At Xmas I drove to Huddersfield to spend Xmas with my niece and her family and then sometime in the New Year she and I are going to get (different) tattoos together for our significant birthdays which fall within a couple of weeks of each other.

All positive stuff, but there is no doubt that long, dark, Winter days are still hard to handle, so I turned to music.

Peter and I both loved music, the louder the better. Rock, pop, country, classical, the only requirement was a good tune and a strong beat. However, although our tastes overlapped in a lot of areas, there were vast swathes of music where we didn’t agree.

So instead of being maudlin listening to music we enjoyed together, I decided to plough my own musical furrow, and you would not believe what a difference a rocking good tune can make to an otherwise miserable and lonely afternoon. How did we ever manage without YouTube?

Then I discovered ‘Netflix’, thanks to my good friend Sylvia. What better way to while away a few hours than watching back to back episodes of ‘Happy Valley’, the best police drama ever made. Filmed in and around the Calder Valley in West Yorkshire, a place very close to my heart, it stars the peerless Sarah Lancashire in the role she was born for. Need I say more?

All of these are small things I grant you, but they are helping me pass the time and taking me in the direction I want to go. I don’t believe Peter would have wanted me to be miserable and lonely, indeed I’m pretty sure he’s looking out for me still. I sorted a particularly tricky computer glitch only a couple of weeks ago after talking to him about.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not naive enough to think that there won’t be set backs, because there will, but with the continuing support of family, friends and neighbours I’m determined that 2019 is going to be a good year.

Though opinion is divided over the wisdom of my proposed tattoo, and we’ve somehow managed to drag the National Treasure that is Dame Darcey Bussell into it!

Don’t ask!!

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