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It took a good thirty years for me to realise that life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans (thanks, John Lennon). A serial plotter, planner and itinerary maker, I used to get beyond frustrated that my life path didn’t follow the one I’d prescribed for myself. Post-divorce I tried to let go of my urge to micro-manage myself, but still seemed to unconsciously give myself X amount of time to find myself back where I thought I belonged.
Newsflash: life doesn’t work like that. And it was the realisation that I had to just let things be instead of attempting to mould and shape them that has led to greater happiness in my 31st year.
31 was the year that I really grew up. I started feeling loads of things that hadn’t quite clicked before: I finally, genuinely felt like a great mum, I stopped caring so much what others thought of me, I realised what a waste of time dating can be. I cherished my friends, considered my career and started appreciating how I need to give myself the odd pat on the back every now and again. I think I even got a little bit more sleep this year, taking my foot off the traditional corporate career ladder to work on my own businesses.
31 was the year of travel. There were the trips to New York – 6 of them, I think? Not bad at all – I felt like a lucky bugger. Then there was Greece with the kiddos (the best family holiday we’ve been on), a ski holiday to The Alps and a whistlestop trip to Portugal. I feel so lucky that I get to see all these places and thank the universe every day that I’m able to have these incredible experiences. It feels funny to say that in my past wife-life I was never that bothered about travelling, but these days I have itchy feet unless I’m planning an adventure.
We moved house this year out to a village which I think has also contributed to my feelings of happiness. The kids are so content at school, I love the peace and quiet and can happily while away my evenings cooking and chatting to my boyfriend at home. It’s boring, it’s domesticated, I love it. Interiors-wise 31 was the year of the Pink Sofa: enough said.
Having not really felt like I’d settled into my role of ‘mum’ before, this year I really made peace with the kind of parent I am, the kind of parent I want to be. I’d always felt a little bit conflicted in this respect; I love my kids completely, but it was always such a juggle to be mum, have a career and maintain the rest of my life, and I never felt quite satisfied that I was doing it right. I think the switch over to working completely at home and for myself has massively helped me find peace in my mum role and for the first time since my first child was born 7 years ago I can truthfully say I LOVE being a mum. It’s the best.
The old love life took a beating this year. I find the dating thing so fascinating: as primal beings we must give and receive so many unconscious signals and I feel like mine changed in the last 12 months. Coming into my own and feeling so much happier in my skin I feel like I made a switch to being ready to meet a special person, which I reckon unconsciously scared off a load of blokes who were looking for what I was previously happy to accept: commitment-free fun. The ghostings and dickheads almost sent me straight back to another man-free six months but I persisted and am happily ensconced in a proper relationship. A proper relationship where we are happy and talk about the future and love being together… I never would have thought it and quite literally pinch myself on the regular that is’s been so happily effortless.
I’ve always looked forward to the future but felt a little wobbly: it seemed full of unpredictabilities, as likely to go down as it was up. I don’t feel that way anymore, I’m nothing but excited for what’s in store. I’ve never been happier to age: 32, I can’t wait to see what you bring.
All those things that weren’t supposed to happen? They happened. What happens next is up to you.
– Hank Moody – Californication
(32 was also the year I had brilliant SarahLou Francis take a bunch of photos for me for work. She’s awesome)